Well, that certainly was thrilling.
The Connecticut Sun walked away with the win Friday evening thanks to a late-game comeback against the Seattle Storm at Mogehan Sun Arena. The 79-78 victory is Connecticut’s 18th of the season.
Shekinna Stricklen led the Sun with 24 points, while Alyssa Thomas (17 points, 11 rebounds) recorded a double-double. Jasmine Thomas (11 points, seven rebounds) also had an impressive night for the Sun.
Connecticut climbed to 18-8 with the win while Seattle fell to 14-13.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Courtney Williams
SG: Jasmine Thomas
SF: Shekinna Stricklen
PF: Alyssa Thomas
C: Jonquel Jones
SUN START HOT
The Sun wasted no time taking control.
Connecticut went on an 8-2 run through the first four minutes, led by Jonquel Jones and Alyssa Thomas.
But Seattle didn’t sweat it, quickly cutting Connecticut’s lead to two. A string of four turnovers in the first five minutes, however, cost the Storm dearly, allowing the Sun to go on a 5-0 run that included a clutch 3-pointer by Stricklen.
After allowing the Storm to get within two, the Sun took another six-point lead.
Bria Holmes’ first bucket of the evening gave the Sun a six-point lead with nearly two minutes left in the quarter.
Rachael Banham exited the game moments before the end of the quarter after a collision in the paint with two Storm players left her clutching her right ankle. She would leave the court with some help from Sun coaches and would not return to the game.
Connecticut would end the quarter up four on Seattle.
Unfortunately, the Sun didn’t have nearly as much luck in the second as they did in the first.
This time, it was the Sun’s turn to struggle offensively as Seattle quickly erased Connecticut’s 21-17 lead with a 13-0 run to open the quarter.
Connecticut managed to halt Seattle’s streak thanks to a big layup from Holmes.
Despite trimming Seattle’s lead to six with 4:41 left in the quarter, the Storm continued to rain on the Sun’s parade, extending their lead to 10 once again. Holmes kept the Sun within striking distance, however, with another key bucket to make it 35-29.
But the Storm snatched the 10-point lead right back in the final minutes of the frame, going up 42-32 on the Sun with seconds to go in the half. Connecticut managed to get two points back with less than a minute left, but Seattle fought back to take a 12-point lead to end the quarter.
And just like that, it was 46-34 heading into the second half.
SUN BATTLE BACK
Connecticut found a small spark in the third, but it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.
The Sun nabbed a quick four points to start the third thanks to some smart plays in transition led once again by Jones.
The Storm quickly reclaimed a 10-point lead. But Connecticut pushed back with a seven-point run, featuring yet another 3-pointer from Stricklen.
The Sun’s luck wouldn’t last the whole quarter as Seattle clawed their way back to a 13-point lead in the waning moments of the third. Connecticut cut its deficit to six with 1:39 to go thanks to a solid effort from Stricklen.
In fact, Stricklen went on a 6-0 run of her own to bring the Sun within eight.
Another big three from Stricklen brought the Sun within five entering the final 10 minutes.
This is where things get interesting.
Connecticut chipped away at Seattle’s lead early in the fourth, bringing the Sun within three with seven minutes left to play. Seattle did regain a five-point lead, but Connecticut made sure it wouldn’t get much larger.
Some solid defense (and a bucket from Williams) helped keep the Sun’s hopes alive.
A Jones putback brought the Sun within four, though Seattle refused to give up the lead. But Connecticut continued to turn defense into offense, cutting the Storm’s lead to three with 1:24 left to play.
Jasmine Thomas made it a one-point game with less than a minute left to play.
Seattle recaptured a three-point lead, but Jasmine Thomas made it a one-point game again with 6 seconds left to play. But a last-second foul on Seattle allowed Connecticut to take a one-point lead on free throws with 4.3 seconds left to play.
And that’s all the Sun would need to the victory, topping the Storm in dramatic fashion by a score of 79-78.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Alyssa Thomas capped off an already-brilliant defensive performance with this gem to save the game.
The Sun take on former teammate Kristine Anigwe and the Dallas Wings on Sunday at Mohegan Sun Arena. Tip-off is slated for 3 p.m. ET.