The Connecticut Sun have punched their ticket to the postseason.
Connecticut on Monday clinched its spot in the 2020 WNBA Playoffs with an 85-70 victory over the Phoenix Mercury. The win pushes the Sun to a .500 winning percentage for the first time during the condensed season. It also snaps the Mercury’s six-game win streak.
Monday marked DeWanna Bonner’s first game against her former team since being traded in February, and boy, did she deliver. The forward led all scorers with 25 points on 45 percent shooting in the contest.
Alyssa Thomas (22 points, nine rebounds, nine assists) fell just shy of a triple-double.
After starting the season 0-5, the Sun now are 10-10 with two games left in the regular season. The Mercury, meanwhile, fell to 12-8.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Jasmine Thomas
SG: Briann January
PF: Alyssa Thomas
SF: DeWanna Bonner
C: Brionna Jones
The Sun opened up an early lead on the Mercury, though Phoenix saw glimpses of success throughout the quarter.
Connecticut found some early momentum, going on a 13-3 run to start the game.
Jasmine Thomas was helped off the floor just two minutes into the game, however, after appearing to roll her left ankle. She did not return.
Bonner made her first bucket against the Mercury less than three minutes in. And, of course, it was a beaut.
But Phoenix didn’t quit, trimming Connecticut’s lead to two after a 9-0 run late in the quarter.
The Sun pushed their lead back to seven with five quick points, an advantage they’d take into the second quarter.
Connecticut shot 56.3 percent from the field, while Phoenix connected on just 33.3 percent of its attempts from the floor. The Sun never trailed in the first.
PHOENIX MAKES IT FUN
It didn’t take long for the Mercury to make it a game.
Phoenix quickly chipped away Connecticut’s lead, making it a one-point game just 2:45 into the quarter on a Skylar Diggins-Smith triple.
The Mercury tried to close the gap a couple of times, but Bonner pushed the Sun’s lead back to three on both occasions.
The Mercury tied things up with just two minutes left in the half. The Sun quickly reopened a six-point advantage to end the half, with Bonner hitting with a nifty jumper at the buzzer.
Phoenix was held to just 34 points and committed an uncharacteristic 10 turnovers in the first half.
Bonner led all scorers with 15 points on 50 percent shooting.
THE DEWANNA BONNER SHOW
Phoenix tried to spoil Connecticut’s lead to start the third, but Bonner helped the Sun go back up six on a couple of occasions.
Connecticut built a 13-point advantage (its biggest of the game) late in the third thanks largely to Bonner’s efforts. She collected 23 points on 47.1 percent shooting through three.
The Mercury were their own worst enemy with 16 turnovers through three quarters.
The Sun took a nine-point advantage into the final frame.
DEAL = SEALED
The Sun got hot in the fourth, retaking a double-figure lead early on a corner three from Natisha Hiedeman.
At one point, the Sun held a 14-point lead. Phoenix applied some pressure, but it simply wasn’t enough to contain Connecticut’s explosive offense.
Alyssa Thomas played a quiet role in the Sun’s success with 22 points on 50 percent shooting. She and Bonner combined for 47 of Connecticut’s 85 points.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Connecticut will play Phoenix on Wednesday for the second and final time in its penultimate game of the regular season. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. ET.