Defense down the stretch, Gets the job Done! Connecticut beat Mystics 80-74!
It’s the home opener for the Sun, new coaching staff, some new players but that same Sun energy! 7,048 fans screaming let’s go Sun, the buzzer goes and its Game time. The sun gets off to a slow start, and the shots just ae not falling. Coach White calls a timeout at the 5:40 mark in the first and they are down 12-3. Some shots started to fall but the Sun was not playing Sun basketball. At the end of one The Washington Mystics were leading 24-14 and the Sun were only shooting 27.8% from the field. The Mystics came out and through the first punch with Elena Delle Donne with 8pts and 3 Rebs.
The Sun started the second quarter with more energy, and more intensity. Natisha Hiederman went hard to the paint and brought the Sun within 6 (18-24) causing Washington to call a timeout with 7:34 to go in the second. Out of the timeout, the Mystics gets an easy bucket, but here comes Dewanna Bonner and she bangs a three and the area goes crazy. Back and forth we go and Bang Rebecca Allen Hits a three with 5:56 to go in the half and the sun are within two (28-26). Elena h its a three on the other end and silents the crowd (31-26). Brionna Jones picked up her third foul, Olivia checks in. Dewanna Bonner is feeling it. With 4:45 to go in the first half, fans yelling Defense, Olivia Nelson-Ododa gets a block, DB running for the lay up ties the game at 31-31 and she points to the crowd, and you could just feel her having fun on the court. Mystics Head Coach Mike Thibaut picked up a technical foul with 2:47 to go in the first half. At the half Mystics Leading 38-34 shooting 38.2% from the field. 90.9% from FT. High Scorers were Elena Delle Donne with 13pts, 6 rebs, Ariel Atkins and Shakira Austin both with 6pts. Sun were shooting 36.1% from the field, 45.5% from the FT. Dewanna Bonner with 10pts 3rebs, and Tiffany Hayes with 6pts.
Alyssa Thomas started that third hot, quick 5pts, and a quick 5pts for Shakira Austin. Both teams came out with a since of urgency. A lot of back and forth. The defense turned up for both teams in that third. Ty Harris checked in with 1:52 to go in the third and brought this different energy. She knocked a timely three with 40 seconds to go in the third and brought the sun within 1 (58-57).
It was the start of the fourth and Bri Jones picked up her 5th foul, we see the Sun use their first Coach’s Challenge, all though it was unsuccessful. With 8:32 left in the game and a bucket by Bri Jones and the Sun took their first lead 59-58. Rebecca Allen Bangs another three 60-67 and Sun Fans are feeling the defensive effort leading to the offensive scoring! Defensive three seconds called on 3 seconds called on on Bri Jones, Technical shot good for Elena. On the next Mystics possession, you could hear assistant coach Bri January yelling “shooter shooter” everyone involved. Sun turned the defense all the way up down this last stretch and started to make shots uncomfortable and hands were everywhere, and sun pulled away with the win 80-74. Sun Shot 36.8% from the field, 69.4% from the FT, 14-2 in second chance points. Dewanna Bonner scored 21pts, Bri Jones 15pts 16 rebs, Alyssa Thomas 14pts 16rebs and 6ast. For the Mystics Shakira Austin with 21pts 11rebs, Elena Delle Donne 19pts 11rebs, and Natasha Cloud with 13pts 6ast. The next match up is May 30th, 2023, at 7pm and will be streamed on WNBA League Pass. Be sure to tune in to this epic rematch! In Post Game Dewanna Bonner said, “She is having fun, and I believe in my team and everything we do”. Coach Stephanie White ahead of next game “Defend without fouling.”