The WNBA Finals officially is underway.
Sunday marked the Sun’s first WNBA Finals appearance since 2005, although it didn’t exactly go the way they had hoped. Connecticut dropped Game 1 of the best-of-five series 95-86 to the Washington Mystics, falling short of a fourth-quarter comeback.
Alyssa Thomas (20 points) and Courtney Williams (26 points) both had monster games for the Sun. Four of Connecticut’s five starters scored in double-figures Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to eke out the win.
The Mystics take 1-0 series lead with the win.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Courtney Williams
SG: Jasmine Thomas
SF: Shekinna Stricklen
PF: Alyssa Thomas
C: Jonquel Jones
MYSTICS FIND EARLY EDGE
The Mystics wasted no time taking control in Game 1.
Washington kicked off the series with a 10-3 run, as Ariel Atkins scored the Mystics first five points on her own.
Jonquel Jones broke up the Mystic’s 10-3 run with a big 3-pointer.
Washington nabbed an early seven-point lead, but a Courtney Williams jumper brought Connecticut within five.
The Mystics took an 8-point lead midway through the first, but it didn’t last long. A little magic from Williams helped make it a one-point game.
Turnovers cost Connecticut late in the first, however, allowing Washington to regain a healthy lead. The Mystics ended the first on a 12-0 run, taking a 30-17 lead entering the second.
Things didn’t get much better for the Sun in the second quarter.
Connecticut began pecking away at Washington’s lead early, thanks partly to some impressive stuff from Morgan Tuck.
Alyssa Thomas’ ability to turn defense into offense helped Connecticut trim Washington’s lead to six. But the Mystics managed to regain a double-digit lead early in the second.
No matter how hard Connecticut pushed in the second, it struggled to erase Washington’s 10-point lead through much of the quarter. Alyssa Thomas led the charge for the Sun with 15 points in the first half, going 7-for-7 from the floor.
The Sun did manage to bring themselves within nine to end the quarter, closing the half down 55-46.
SUN KEEP HOPE ALIVE
The Mystics’ magic continued in the third, but the Sun didn’t lose hope.
Turnovers proved costly again for the Sun early in the quarter, although Connecticut managed to hold Washington to just two points through the first five minutes.
Jones cut the Mystics’ lead to 12 with a brilliant turnaround jumper.
Connecticut found cracks in Washington’s armor in the final moments of the quarter, quickly trimming the Mystics’ 15-point lead to nine with a 7-0 run.
The Mystics tacked on three more points before the end of the third, taking a 76-66 lead into the final 10 minutes.
COMEBACK COMES SHORT
A 10-point lead was simply too much for Connecticut to overcome, but they didn’t go without a fight.
It didn’t take long for the Sun to bring themselves within six, with both Williams and Shekinna Stricklen led the way.
Several missed opportunities cost the Mystics dearly in the fourth, allowing the Sun to close the gap with time winding down. At one point, Connecticut was within four points of Washington midway through the quarter.
But the Mystics fought back, retaking a 13-point lead with just 3:10 left to play.
Connecticut managed to get back within 10, but simply could not complete the comeback. The Sun fell to the Mystics 95-86.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Connecticut can tie the series at one game apiece in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals on Tuesday at Entertainment and Sports Arena. Tip-off is slated for at 8 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Photo Credit: Chris Poss