It was a tale of two halves as the Connecticut Sun faced the Atlanta Dream on Friday in the WNBA Bubble in Bradenton, Fla.
The Sun had their defensive game working in the first half, limiting the Dream to just 33 points. But it wasn’t enough as Atlanta turned it on down the stretch en route to a 82-75 victory.
The Sun (10-12) had a chance to finish off their shortened regular season with a .500 winning percentage, but concluded two games below the mark. Connecticut did, however, finish 10-7 over its final 17 games and now enter the WNBA playoffs.
DeWanna Bonner led Connecticut on Friday with a team-high 17 points and eight rebounds. Kaila Charles and Natisha Hiedeman each finished with 13 points, while Alyssa Thomas scored nine total points and added nine rebounds.
Atlanta (7-14) was led by Courtney Williams (20 points, nine rebounds) and Chennedy Carter (22 points).
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Jasmine Thomas
SG: Briann January
PF: Alyssa Thomas
SF: DeWanna Bonner
C: Brionna Jones
The Sun built a 20-15 lead after the first quarter.
Alyssa Thomas recorded a team-high seven points (2-for-4 from the field) in the quarter as six Connecticut players found the scoring column.
The Sun shot 41.2 percent from the floor (7-for-17) despite converting on just 14.3 percent of 3-point attempts. Atlanta, on the other hand, shot 27.8 percent from the field (5-for-19).
MAINTAINING THEIR LEAD
Connecticut, who once led by eight points in the first half, held a 36-33 advantage heading into the intermission.
The Sun shot 40 percent (14-for-35) from the field in the first half, including 23.1 percent from long range (3-for-13). Connecticut did hold a minor edge on the glass, 25-21, but also had more turnovers (six to four).
The Dream, on the other end, shot 34.2 percent from field (13-for-38) while missing all five of the team’s 3-point attempts in the first half.
Bonner came alive in the second quarter and scored a game-high 14 points in 13 first-half minutes. She shot an efficient 5-for-9 from the floor.
ATLANTA BOUNCES BACK
Atlanta bounced back with a strong third quarter, outscoring the Sun by five points, to take a 56-54 lead into fourth quarter.
After early shooting troubles from deep, the Dream connected on a pair of 3-pointers while also changing the tide on the glass, out rebounding the Sun by five in the third frame alone.
It also didn’t help Connecticut that Bonner scored just one of her 15 points in the quarter.
Connecticut shot 43.8 percent from the field through three quarters while Atlanta increased their shooting percentage to 36.7 percent after a 23-point third quarter.
DREAM CLOSE IT OUT
Atlanta went on an extended 8-2 run to open the quarter before taking a 13-point lead, 72-59, with 5:30 left.
Ultimately, it was too much for the Sun to come back from as they trailed by three possession throughout the final five minutes.
Connecticut finished the game shooting 43.8 percent from the field (28-for-64) while Atlanta concluded shooting 40.3 percent from the field (31-for-77).
PLAY OF THE GAME
Bounce passes to split a double team? Yeah, we’ll have that.
The Sun will face the Chicago Sky in the first round of the WNBA Playoffs.