The Connecticut Sun returned to action on Friday after their game against the Phoenix Mercury and several other WNBA games were postponed as the league continued its stand against police brutality and social injustice.
The Sun got off to a hot start against the Los Angeles Sparks, leading at the end of the first three quarters before the defense imploded in the fourth in being handed a 80-76 loss.
Alyssa Thomas had a team-high 19 points with nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. She kept things close in the final quarter and her sixth board of the game marked the 1,300th of her career.
Three other starters scored double figures with DeWanna Bonner (13 points, five rebounds, four assists), Jasmine Thomas (12 points, six assists, three rebounds) and Brionna Jones (10 points, three steals, three rebounds).
However, the Sun turned the ball over 23 times, allowing the Sparks to keep things close and eventually take the lead behind Chelsea Gray’s 27 points for Los Angeles.
With the win, the Sparks improve to 11-3 while Connecticut falls to 6-9 on the season.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Jasmine Thomas
SG: Briann January
PF: Alyssa Thomas
SF: DeWanna Bonner
C: Brionna Jones
SHOT FOR SHOT
The Sun and Sparks went back and forth in the opening quarter with seven lead changes before the first break. No team took more than a three-point lead all frame.
Bonner earned the Sun their first advantage of the game on a transition layup to go up 8-6 halfway through the quarter, and hit a deep three later on to tie it up at 13 apiece.
Bonner had five points and three boards by the end of the first, with Jasmine Thomas leading Connecticut with seven points and two assists.
Chelsea Gray kept things close for the Sparks with 10 points in the first quarter as Los Angeles shot 40 percent from the field to start.
Connecticut led 20-18 at the end of the first.
CHARLES OFF THE BENCH
The Sparks’ shooting woes continued into the second quarter, as they were shot 11-for-27 from the field and 2-for-9 from beyond the arc.
But still, they kept things close as the Sun’s turnover count increased to nine.
Kaila Charles had some solid contributions off the bench to keep it close, dropping five points in the quarter to finish the half with seven points and a team-high four rebounds.
Beatrice Mompremier hit a layup assisted by Bonner to make it 36-32, and Essence Carson hit a 3-pointer to extend it to 39-32, Connecticut’s largest lead of the game, to close out the half.
The Sun outshot the Sparks 19-14 in the second frame, and Gray led all shooters with 12 points at the break.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
The Sun played with some breathing room through most of the third, extending their advantage to as many as nine points, but Te’a Cooper got hot scoring 10 of her 12 points off the bench.
With just over a minute left in the quarter, Los Angeles came within a point of Connecticut, but January hit a clutch 3-pointer off an assist from Natisha Hiedman made it 58-54.
The Sparks continued to make up ground behind Gray, Nneka Ogqumike and Cooper, outscoring the Sun 27-24 in the quarter.
Connecticut led 63-59 entering the final frame.
STILL ANYONE’S GAME
The Sparks threatened with a strong start to the fourth with an 8-2 run and a Cooper jumper tied things up at 65-all. After a little back-and-forth, Gray gave L.A. a 72-69 lead with a 28-foot triple, and hit another 3-pointer to extend the advantage to 75-71.
That instigated a Connecticut timeout, but Parker gave Los Angeles their largest lead of the game immediately after.
Bonner would not go down easily, recording her third steal of the game, bumping her up to 30th all-time in steals in the WNBA.
It was a three-point game with just 8.5 seconds left, but the Sun were outscored 21-13 in the period due to 23 total turnovers.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Alyssa Thomas. Sheesh.
The Connecticut Sun return to action Sunday, August 30 against the Washington Mystics. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. ET.