Diana Taurasi, Skylar Diggins-Smith and the Mercury celebrated their home opener Friday night.
Unfortunately for Phoenix, the Sun spoiled the party.
Connecticut remained undefeated on the season with an 84-67 victory at Phoenix Suns Arena. Jonquel Jones stuffed the stat sheet for the visitors, notching a team-high 16 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Jasmine Thomas wasn’t far behind with 15 of her own.
Diggins-Smith led all scorers with 20 points, but it wasn’t nearly enough to hand the Sun their first loss of the campaign.
With the win, the Sun improved to 4-0, while the Mercury dropped to 2-2.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Natisha Hiedeman
SG: Jasmine Thomas
SF: DeWanna Bonner
PF: Jonquel Jones
C: Brionna Jones
The Sun bolted out to a quick 11-0 lead thanks to triples from Hiedeman, Jonquel Jones and Bonner, the last of which forced a Mercury timeout less than three minutes into the contest.
It took Phoenix nearly four minutes of game time to find the bottom of the net. From there, it turned into a back-and-forth affair, and the Mercury finally were able to trim the Sun’s lead to single digits with 1:43 left in the first via a Diggins-Smith floater. Connecticut’s lead ultimately stood at eight when the first-quarter buzzer sounded.
Brionna Jones was a handful down low for Phoenix. Her six first-quarter points only were upped by Diggins-Smith’s seven.
STAYING IN CONTROL
It seemed as though Phoenix was on the cusp of a rally as the first quarter came to a close, but the Sun eliminated any idea of Mercury momentum in the second.
Connecticut entered the break with a comfortable 48-30 lead. The Sun received a lift from the bench in the second frame, as Beatrice Mompremier and Kaila Charles combined for 11 points.
Connecticut’s halftime lead would have been even larger had it not been for Taurasi, who woke up in the second and led all players at the break with 12 points.
FOOT ON THE GAS
The Sun didn’t veer into complacency coming out of halftime. Instead, the visitors maintained a double-digit lead throughout the third quarter and entered the final frame with a 63-47 advantage.
Jonquel Jones paced Connecticut in the third with seven points. The Mercury’s star backcourt duo of Taurasi and Diggins-Smith combined for over half of the home team’s total points in the third.
Phoenix never even flirted with staging a legitimate fourth-quarter comeback, as Connecticut maintained its comfortable lead throughout the final frame. The Sun tapped deeper into their bench in the late stages and received a combined eight points from DiJonai Carrington and Stephanie Jones.
PLAY OF THE GAME
A fadeaway jumper over a seven-time (!) WNBA blocks leader isn’t too shabby.
Connecticut’s West Coast road trip continues Sunday in Las Vegas. Tip off for Sun-Aces is set for 6 p.m. ET.