The Connecticut Sun came out of the gates hot this season, but have stumbled of late, losing five of their last six games entering Sunday’s matchup with the Indiana Fever.
Connecticut made it two consecutive wins, defeating the Fever 76-63 behind 26 points from star center Jonquel Jones. She shot 11-of-19 from the floor and helped spark a 20-2 run for the Sun in the third quarter, which would be the difference.
Jasmine Thomas (14 points) and Shekinna Stricklen (12) also finished in double figures for the Sun.
Indiana was led by Kelsey Mitchell, who posted 14 points in the loss. Candice Dupree, Natalie Achonwa and Betnijah Laney each collected 11 points.
The Sun improved to 11-6 with the win, while Indiana slipped to 6-12.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Courtney Williams
SG: Jasmine Thomas
PF: Alyssa Thomas
C: Jonquel Jones
JONES LEADING THE WAY
Jones started out hot Sunday, collecting seven points and five rebounds in the game’s first seven minutes. The center has been a double-double machine so far this season, and she quickly got out on the right foot in Indianapolis.
The Sun led 20-15 heading into the second frame thanks to nine points apiece from Jones and Jasmine Thomas. Thomas added four first-quarter rebounds and two assists.
SUN HOLDING STRONG
Connecticut’s defense picked up in the second quarter, ultimately resulting in nine first-half turnovers for the Fever. They were able to convert those steals into points, with players like Morgan Tuck taking full advantage.
It was business as usual for Jones, who continued to dominate well into the second quarter. The 6-foot-6 center owned the paint for Connecticut, leaving Indiana searching for interior answers.
Her 16 first-half points led the Sun to a 39-30 lead at the break. Jasmine Thomas had 11 points in 14 first-half minutes.
JONES SPARKS A RUN
Indiana pushed back to start the second half, cutting the deficit to three early in the third quarter. But the Sun immediately went on a run of their own, jumping out to an 8-0 run, extending the lead back to 11.
The Sun turned that stretch into an impressive 20-2 run, giving them a 62-43 lead after three.
Jones’ production didn’t slow down, as the center had a season-high 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting heading into the fourth quarter. Her previous season-high was 25 against the Fever on May 28.
FINISHING THE JOB
Connecticut’s 3-point shooting was the difference maker Sunday afternoon, as the Sun hit nine second-half threes, while the Fever went 0-for-16 from deep for the game. The ugly shooting day was their worst 3-point shooting performance in franchise history.
Indiana did cut into the deficit late, but Connecticut’s lead was too much for the Fever to handle.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Stricklen is money from deep, even with a hand in her face.
The Sun return to Mohegan Sun Arena Friday night to face the Atlanta Dream at 7:30 p.m. ET.