Game 2 of the WNBA Finals between the Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces will tip-off Tuesday, and out LGBTQ players will be everywhere on the court.
At least eight out players are competing and both head coaches — Sun’s Curt Miller and Ace’s Becky Hammon — are publicly out. Miller is the only out gay male head coach in professional sports. Fittingly, the Suns carry more out LGBTQ players on their roster (six) than any other WNBA team.
But Connecticut’s success, of course, rides on the skills of its out LGBTQ players. These women can ball. The Sun are perennial contenders, reaching the playoffs in six consecutive seasons.
Jonquel Jones, the reigning WNBA MVP and Outsports Female Athlete of the Year, averaged 14.6 points per game this season to go along with 8.6 rebounds per night. She’s spoken openly about her coming-out journey after growing up in the conservative Bahamas.
“I struggled with it for a long, long, long time,” Jones said in an interview with Lindsay Gibbs for Bleacher Report. “I met so many amazing people that are doing great things, not just for themselves, but their communities. And when I saw that, I’m like, ‘Man, that stuff is bogus.’ You can’t say that God knows you unconditionally, and he’s gonna judge you for loving somebody else like that. So for me, I just had to figure it out for myself.”
Courtney Williams rounds out the list of out players on Connecticut. She was drafted No. 8 overall in the 2016 WNBA Draft.
Despite all of the Suns’ LGBTQ star power, the Aces were able to take Game 1 by a score of 67-64, thanks to coach Becky Hammond’s disruptive zone defense. One of the Aces’ starting guards, Chelsea Gray, got married to her partner in 2019.
Las Vegas guard Riquna Williams, who’s garnered attention for her sleek gender non-conforming style, is out as well.
As SB Nation’s blog Swish Appeal explains, the Aces are favored in the series, and poised to make Las Vegas the epicenter of women’s basketball. We know that whomever is victorious wouldn’t have been able to win without a big assist from Team LGBTQ.