The Sun ruled the Sky on Tuesday, but it was a battle to the finish.
Both Connecticut and Chicago entered Tuesday’s contest at Mohegan Sun Arena on a four-game win streak. But only the Sun would extend theirs to five, abruptly ending the Sky’s pre-All-Star Break success.
Jonquel Jones earned her 10th double-double of the season with a season-high 27 points and 11 rebounds in the Sun’s six-point victory. Jasmine Thomas had herself one heck of a night as well, posting 18 points and eight assists, while Alyssa Thomas (12 points, nine assists) just barely missed a double-double of her own.
Connecticut improves to 14-6 with the win while Chicago fell to 11-9 with the loss.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Courtney Williams
SG: Jasmine Thomas
SF: Shekinna Stricklen
PF: Alyssa Thomas
C: Jonquel Jones
SUN, SKY STAY EVEN
Both the Sun and the Sky got off to a fast start, trading leads early and often in Tuesday’s contest.
Shekinna Stricklen, who’s coming off a victory at the WNBA 3-Point Contest, helped bolster the Sun’s offense early with some magic from beyond the arc.
Jones, who’s coming off a second-place finish in the WNBA Skills Competition, put on a show early as well, scoring six points in the first. The 6-foot-6 center even landed an incredible turnaround jumper as the shot clock expired with a minute left in the quarter.
The Sky tried to tie things up to end the quarter, but Jones and Natisha Hiedeman prevented that with two mighty blocks.
The Sun ended the first up 28-26 on the Sky.
SUN PULLS AWAY
Connecticut began to break away from Chicago in the second.
Heideman helped keep things going for the Sun, landing a gorgeous fadeaway early in the second to give the Sun a five-point lead.
Connecticut eventually extended their lead to double digits and maintained it for most of the quarter. Jones and Jasmine Thomas helped lead the charge, both scoring 11 points apiece in the first half.
Bria Holmes looked stellar off the bench, notching six points for the Sun in the second.
Connecticut scored a whopping 57 points in the first half compared to the Sky’s 43.
SUN SCORCHES SKY
Chicago cut Connecticut’s lead to 10 to start the second half, but their success wouldn’t last long.
Jasmine Thomas halted the Sky’s 8-2 run with a key 3-point shot. Jones followed suit quickly, bringing the Sun’s lead back to 14.
Jones and Jasmine Thomas continued to light up the scoreboard, scoring 12 and seven points in the third, respectively.
And on top of it all, Bria Holmes ended the quarter with the 600th point of her career.
Connecticut would take an 82-63 lead into the final 10 minutes of the game.
Despite entering the quarter with a 19-point lead, the Sun stumbled in the final moments of the game.
Chicago began chipping away at Connecticut’s lead early, quickly trimming their lead to 10 points. Hiedeman tried to keep the Sun in it with five minutes left with a massive 3-point shot.
The Sun’s lead would quickly disintegrate, with Connecticut failing to score a point in four of the final five minutes of the game. That allowed the Sky to cut the once 23-point lead to four with just 1:13 left to play.
But Jones would sink four straight free throws in the following 30 seconds, bringing Connecticut’s lead back up to eight. Chicago would get two points back in the final seconds but ultimately fell to the Sun by a final score of 100-94.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Don’t leave her open!
Connecticut will take on the pesky Phoneix Mercury, who have knocked the Sun out of the playoffs two seasons in a row, Thursday evening at Mohegan Sun Arena in search of a sixth straight win. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Photo Credit: Chris Poss