The Sun continue to be the team to beat in the WNBA.
Connecticut entered Friday’s game against the Lynx with the league’s best record, and built on its lead in the standings with an 85-81 win against Minnesota at Target Center.
Alyssa Thomas led the way for the Sun with 18 points, while Shekinna Stricklen (16), Jonquel Jones (16) and Rachel Banham (10) all reached double-figures.
Minnesota’s Odyssey Sims lit up the court with 25 points. The Lynx had three other shooters who amassed double-digit points in Sylvia Fowles (17), Danielle Robinson (14) and Napheesa Collier (10).
It was a back-and-forth game all night, but the Sun continued to do damage and extend their win streak to five.
With the win, the Sun improved to 7-1, while the Lynx dropped to 4-4.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Jasmine Thomas
SG: Courtney Williams
SF: Shekinna Stricklen
PF: Alyssa Thomas
C: Jonquel Jones
SUN START STRONG
The Sun came out strong, scoring their first nine of 11 points on two 3-pointers from Stricklen and one from Jones.
They continued their strong first by going on a 10-3 run to take a 13-6 lead with just over four minutes to play in the opening quarter. But Minnesota started chipping into Connecticut’s lead with back-to-back buckets from Danielle Robinson.
But another Sun trey put them up 24-21 at the end of the first.
Alyssa Thomas paced all shooters with eight points, with Stricklen just behind her with six.
SUN HANG ON TO SLIM LEAD
Both teams kept it close, with the Sun holding onto a 34-33 lead with 4:11 left in the first half thanks in part to Stricklen hitting her third shot from downtown.
Connecticut maintained its slim lead throughout the quarter before the Lynx tied it at 39 with just under two minutes to go. As was the case all game, both Minnesota and the Sun kept it close, but it was Connecticut that took a 44-43 lead at halftime.
Alyssa Thomas led the Sun with 10 points, while Stricklen had nine and Jones had eight.
BACK-AND-FORTH WE GO
It took nearly two minutes for the scoring to get going in the third, but the Sun upped their lead with yet another 3-pointer.
The Lynx responded with a two-point shot, but for each shot they hit, Connecticut countered with its own to keep its lead intact before going up by five with a nice shot by Williams.
Minnesota tried to regain the lead and tied it in the final five minutes at 58, but Jones gave the Sun the lead back on the ensuing possession. The Lynx then took a one-point edge with a Sims bucket, but Connecticut went back up by three with 1:21 left in the third thanks to none other than Stricklen.
Sims hit a season-high 20 points to tie it at 67 apiece in the final minute, but it was Connecticut that took a 68-67 edge into the final quarter.
Sims led all shooters with 20 points, while Stricklen paced the Sun with 16.
SUN SEAL IT
Connecticut began the fourth quarter on a 4-0 run that forced Minnesota to call a timeout.
The Lynx put up three points before the Sun pulled ahead 76-70 prior to taking a nine-point advantage after a Banham 3-pointer.
The lead got stretched to 10 with 3:03 to go with Alyssa and Jasmine Thomas connecting for the bucket.
Minnesota made it interesting and cut its 10-point deficit down to four with 1:14 to go to make it 85-81, which would end up being the final score of the game.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Can’t stop, won’t stop.
The Sun are back in action Sunday afternoon when they welcome the Seattle Storm to Mohegan Sun Arena. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Chris Poss/Connecticut Sun