Takeaways: Connecticut Sun top Indiana Fever to start the season 2-0

Connecticut Sun center Jonquel Jones (35) shoots during the WNBA game between the Indiana Fever and the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA on May 28, 2019. Photo Credit: Chris Poss
Connecticut Sun center Jonquel Jones (35) shoots during the WNBA game between the Indiana Fever and the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA on May 28, 2019. Photo Credit: Chris Poss /

Jonquel Jones scores 25 as the Sun struggle at times against the Fever

UNCASVILLE — The Connecticut Sun picked up their second win of the young season after defeating the Indiana Fever, 88-77. The win was not pretty, something head coach Curt Miller touched upon after the game.

“We had to grind them out [the first two wins], you know that’s two wins on two nights where we didn’t have our a game, we can play better and that team is not satisfied in the locker room,” Miller told assembled reporters at his postgame presser. “They know we can play better. And that was the question, could we grind out and win this one we didn’t have our ‘A-game’. And I don’t think we played an ‘A-game’ in our first two games.”

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The Sun allowed thirty points in the paint, though it seemed like every time the Fever drove to the basket in the first half, they scored.

Indiana had two players score at least 20 points with field goal percentages above 70 percent. Erica Wheeler finished the game 11-for-15 from the floor and 4-for-6 from behind the arc for a total of 26 points in addition to nine assists. Candice Dupree went 10-13 from the floor finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

The difference was free throws and threes

The crowd went wild after every single made three… and there were ten of them.

The Sun went 14-for-22 from the line while the Fever went 2-for-3. Yes, Indiana shot just three free throws over the course of the 40-minute game. Connecticut did a good job of drawing contact and cheers erupted from both the bench and the crowd after every drawn foul near the basket. While the arena was not full but it sure sounded it.

If the Sun had not shot so well from behind the arc and gotten to the free throw line they likely would not have won the game.

Third quarter separation

For the second game in a row, the Sun have used the third quarter to create separation between them and their opponents, outscoring them a combined 45-27. While Miller joked that he wished halftime coaching adjustments were

During halftime, Miller asked his players, “What what are you feeling? What are you seeing?” and used it as a “collaborative communication in that locker room and there’s trust both ways that grows through the years and being able to take a deep breath and be a group that truly trust each other and trust your coaches and coaches trust them is contributing to good third quarters.”

However, unlike their game against the Washington Mystics, the Sun struggled to maintain their lead in the fourth quarter. When Erica Wheeler made a three with 6:39 left in the game to make it 70-64, Miller called a timeout just after the ball went through the net.

“Tonight was JJ’s [Jonquel Jones] night to get points”

The Sun, by design, do not rely on one scorer, and as Miller said in his opening statement, “Tonight was JJ’s [Jonquel Jones] night to get points.”

Jones also added “the way that we play and we don’t really have that one person that we go to every game is impossible to stop everyone is just next man up.”

Jones was 10-for-16 from the floor including 4-for-7 from behind the arc and scored 25 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had two blocks. Her four threes nearly matched the Fever’s team total of five.

She shot the ball effortlessly tonight, when asked what got her going tonight she said, “I think it was a little bit of those things [hitting inside and outside shots, as well as getting a rebound inside], especially early when I see the ball go down, it feels good and it just builds that confidence.”

However, Jones wouldn’t take all the credit

“I think we just when you when you play with people that are willing to share the ball, it’s a lot of fun and it looks like that,” Jones said.

The way she shot, especially from behind the arc, made it appear like if she decided to shoot from the moon the smoothness of the shot would remain the same. When asked about it and if there was anywhere she couldn’t make a shot from she laughed and said, “I mean, when I feel good, it looks good.” (Note that wasn’t a denial that she could consistently make shots from the moon.)

It will be tough to beat the Sun on any night when she shoots this efficiently, both in the paint and outside the arc.

The Sun head out west to take on Chiney Ogwumike and the Los Angeles Sparks for the first time this season on June 1 at 10: 30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.

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