The energy felt different walking into the Mohegan Sun Arena on the night of a possible elimination game. In pregame, Coach Curt Miller said, “stressed moving the ball, more cutting, flair screening, and of course winning the battle of the boards. Miller said, “all the little things are the big things”, and we are our best when we are balanced.”
The Connecticut Sun came out in that first quarter with intensity, more aggression, and a different desire to start the game. Compared to previous first quarters, the Sun came out and hit their first three buckets, shaping the momentum for the team. Shoutout to the engine, Alyssa Thomas, for setting the tone. By the end of the first quarter, the Sun won the paint battle 18-14 and held the Chicago Sky to only 4 fast break points. The Sun did this while shooting 52.6 % from the field.
In that second quarter, the Sun did not take their foot off the gas. Everything was just going Connecticut’s way. All those missed layups in game 3 were finally falling and each player had a little extra emotion while driving to the basket. Dijonai Carrington and Odyssey Sims added a little extra spiciness to the game once they were checked in. Carrington had the sweet fast-break layup at the buzzer to end the half. Emotions were high after that play and the team was loving it. The bench was motivated, and the fans were excited.
At halftime, the Sun was leading 58-41. 38 paint points, while holding Candance Parker to three points, speaks highly of the defense. Speaking of defense, the Sun forced 9 turnovers leading to 14 points. Chicago Sky's top performers for the half were Emma Meesseman, Kahleah Copper, and Courtney Vandersloot with 8pts.
The third quarter was all Courtney Williams. Even when the Sky tried to make a run, she said nope, this is my game tonight! She scored 10 points in that third quarter. The team’s mindset was something special to see. From the ladies talking to each other, exuding confidence, and the bench staying ready, these ladies were playing some top-notch Connecticut Sun basketball. By the end of the third, the Sun controlled the game by leading 83-61 and scoring 56 points in the paint.
Energy is contagious and in the fourth quarter, Connecticut did not stop! They put their stamp on this game. Alyssa Thomas, Tspoon, Dewanna Bonner, JJ, and Courtney came back in the game towards the end of the fourth. That goes to show you, no room for any type of run for the Sky. The Sun was successful in forcing a game 5 by winning the game 104-84. The Sun outscored the Sky 66-34 in the paint, 15-1 in second-chance points while shooting 56.9% from the field. Winning the battle of the boards 39-23.
In post-game Coach, Miller stressed the team’s effort, heart, and determination. He spoke on how Dijonai Carrington is fearless and plays with such confidence. He was very proud of the team's desire and will to win this game. Courtney Williams said, “Look good, feel good, play good”. That motto led to the team making shots and each player having fun. On the road to game 5!