The Connecticut Sun laid it all on the line in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals, and it certainly paid off.
It was do-or-die for the Sun on Tuesday after Connecticut found itself in a 2-1 hole to the Mystics following a crushing Game 3 loss to Washington on Sunday. This time, the Sun managed to pull off the win, forcing a Game 5 with a thrilling 90-86 victory at Mohegan Sun Arena.
All five of the Sun’s starters scored 14-plus points Tuesday, with Jonquel Jones (18 points, 13 rebounds) leading the way. Alyssa Thomas (17 points, 11 assists) and Courtney Williams (16 points, seven rebounds) also helped get the job done.
Now, it all comes down to Game 5. Who will be the next WNBA champion?
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Courtney Williams
SG: Jasmine Thomas
SF: Shekinna Stricklen
PF: Alyssa Thomas
C: Jonquel Jones
A BLAZING START
The Sun started hot. And we mean HOT.
After trading the first two buckets, the Sun kicked off a 9-0 run.
Some good defensive rebounding early in the first allowed the Sun to open their first double-figure lead of the night midway through the quarter.
After Delle Donne netted her second triple of the night, the Sun went on another 9-0 run, courtesy of Natisha Hiedeman and Courtney Williams. And just like that, the Sun had themselves a 17-point lead.
The Mystics found a bit of a spark in the final moments of the quarter. But the Sun refused to be extinguished, taking a 15-point lead into the second quarter. The Sun’s 32 first quarter points is a team record.
The Sun closed out the quarter much like they entered it, but the Mystics sure put up a fight.
Washington kicked off the quarter with a quick 3-pointer, but Connecticut pushed right back with four points of their own.
But the Mystics continued to chip away at the Sun’s lead, bringing it down to nine less than four minutes into the second.
That wasn’t enough to stifle the Sun, however. Connecticut reopened a double-figure lead midway through the quarter with a little more magic from both Jones and Stricklen.
Connecticut’s success continued through the remainder of the half, with Williams closing out the first 20 minutes with a last-second bucket, making it 56-40 Sun. (Check out the hi-five she gives her dad on the sidelines.)
Alyssa Thomas had a quietly monstrous first half, nabbing 18 points and eight rebounds on her own. (Williams also had 14 points in the half.)
ALL TIED UP
The Sun had themselves a 16-point cushion entering the second half, but would quickly run into trouble.
The Mystics wasted no time going on a 13-1 run, trimming the Sun’s lead to four less than four minutes into the third quarter.
The Mystics suddenly found themselves within one midway through the quarter.
Connecticut fought back, ending the Mystics’ run and retaking an eight-point lead.
But just as fast as the momentum swung in the Sun’s favor, it swung right back in the Mystics. Washington battled back, tying things up on an 8-2 run as the third came to a close.
NOW OR NEVER
With the score tied at 68-all, it was anyone’s game going into the final 10 minutes.
The Mystics quickly took their first lead since the first minute of Tuesday’s game, going up 74-68 early in the fourth.
There was no quit in the Sun, though, as Connecticut managed to tie things up at 77 points apiece midway through the fourth.
Natasha Cloud put the Mystics back up two, but JJ managed to tie things back up at 79.
After trading buckets once again, Jasmine Thomas gave the Sun the lead with a monster three.
The Mystics knotted things back up, but Stricklen gave the Sun the lead (for good this time) with a monster 3.
A layup from Cloud brought Washington within one with 2:10 left on the clock, but couldn’t complete the comeback. Jasmine and Alyssa Thomas gave the Sun a four-point lead with three-of-four free throws completed in the final 20 seconds of the game.
And so, there will be a Game 5.
PLAY OF THE GAME
I mean, how is it not?
The two squads head back to Washington D.C. for the fifth and final game of the series on Thursday. Tip-off from Entertainment and Sports Arena is set for 8 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images