Photo By: WNBA Instagram.
Minneapolis, MN - The Connecticut Sun left their mark in the WNBA Playoffs with a resounding 90-75 triumph over the Minnesota Lynx in a decisive Game 3 showdown, earning them a coveted spot in the semifinals for the fifth consecutive season. The stage is now set for an electrifying clash with the No. 2 seed New York Liberty, as the Sun's quest for championship glory intensifies.
Alyssa Thomas, an indomitable force for the Sun, delivered a masterful performance, matching her postseason career-high with an astonishing 28 points. Thomas also showcased her versatility, contributing six rebounds, 12 assists, and one steal, demonstrating her invaluable leadership on the court. The Connecticut Sun commenced the game with unwavering determination, establishing a commanding 15-6 lead over the Minnesota Lynx in the opening quarter. This impressive display of teamwork prompted the Lynx to call a timeout with 5:37 remaining in the first quarter. Notably, all five Sun starters contributed to this early surge, with Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner each chipping in four points. By the conclusion of the first quarter, the Lynx managed to trim the Sun's lead to seven, with the score at 26-19 in favor of Connecticut. Thomas and Bonner led the Sun with eight points apiece at this juncture.
The second quarter witnessed a determined Minnesota resurgence, commencing with a 6-0 run that narrowed the Sun's lead to just one point at 26-25. Connecticut swiftly countered with an 11-4 run, extending their advantage to 37-29 with 4:25 remaining in the first half. Ty Harris emerged as a key contributor during this critical stretch, amassing five crucial points. The Sun concluded the second quarter in style, enjoying a commanding 15-point lead of 49-34 at halftime. Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner continued to spearhead the Sun's offensive efforts with 14 points each.
Connecticut's proficiency shone brightly in their shooting statistics, boasting an impressive 58.3% field goal percentage (21-36) while holding Minnesota to 40% (12-30) in the first half. The Sun also asserted their dominance in the paint (28-14) and on the fast break (12-5). The third quarter saw the Sun maintain their stranglehold on the game, commencing with an 8-4 run to extend their lead to a commanding 19 points (57-38). DeWanna Bonner played a pivotal role during this stretch, contributing six vital points. The Lynx, however, staged a brief resurgence with a rapid 6-0 run, narrowing the deficit to 13 points (57-44) with 5:17 left in the quarter. Nevertheless, Connecticut managed to close out the third quarter with a 16-point lead, holding a 65-49 advantage, with Bonner and Thomas leading the charge.
Despite a spirited early push by the Lynx in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Sun 5-2 and momentarily reducing the lead to 13 points (67-54), Connecticut exhibited unwavering resilience. They concluded the game with a flourish, outscoring Minnesota 23-21 in the final quarter, ultimately securing a resounding 90-75 victory. Ty Harris emerged as a pivotal figure in the closing minutes, contributing 10 pivotal points to seal the win. Napheesa Collier, a standout performer for the Lynx, put on a remarkable display, amassing 31 points, five rebounds, two assists, and one block during the contest. Post-game, DeWanna Bonner underscored the significance of locker room challenges in the pursuit of this pivotal victory.
The Connecticut Sun's commanding performance in this winner-take-all Game 3 sets the stage for a thrilling semifinal showdown against the New York Liberty. With their eyes firmly set on the championship, the Sun's journey promises to be filled with excitement and anticipation.