Sun win their fifth straight game against high-powered Sky offense
UNCASVILLE, CT — Jasmine Thomas plants her feet almost parallel to the backboard a couple of steps outside the paint, plants her feet, shoots and scores.
Courtney Williams steps up to the same spot, plants her feet, shoots and scores.
Williams steps up and does it again.
Jonquel Jones steps up to the same spot, plants her feet, shoots and scores.
From just outside the paint the Sun drained four shots from almost the same spot just a couple feet from the top corner of the paint.
More from High Post Hoops
- Bet $5 on Sparks vs. Sky, Win $150 Instantly with Limited-Time DraftKings Promo
- Cash in for Over $2,000 With WNBA Promo Bonuses from FanDuel & Caesars
- FanDuel WNBA Promo Code Gives You $2,500 Bonus for ANY Game Tonight!
- Unlock $200 GUARANTEED With Crazy DraftKings WNBA Promo
- Unlock Over $4,500 Bonus With 3 Best WNBA Sportsbook Promos!
However, offense alone was not going to win the game for the Connecticut Sun. The team’s success on the offensive end of the court did make it significantly easier, however.
At the end of the first quarter the Sun led the Chicago Sky 28-26, but after strong defensive showings in the last three quarters, defeated the Sky 100-94.
Defense will be the Sun’s key to winning a championship
Strong defense in the second and third quarters allowed Connecticut to go into halftime with a 14 point lead and finish the third quarter with a 19 point lead. However, the lead dwindled down to four with 1:18 left to play.
Yes, the Sun did allow 94 points, but they were able to contain Chicago’s high-powered offense to just 37 points in the second and third quarters.
The bench played a lot of the fourth quarter, though the starters were all put back in with 3:36 left in the game.
Head coach Curt Miller addressed this after the game saying, “You want to try to give the reserves confidence we pulled them early in Indiana and it upset everyone. They were able to take home a big lead here at home against another team [Atlanta Dream]. And for a stretch there we were trading baskets and it looked like we were going to be fine but you know how dangerous they are so the starters got to go back in and finish it up.”
Defense came from everyone yesterday, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.
Connecticut is tied for third in steals per game and tied for fourth in blocks per game. Continuing to get strong defensive effort from everyone on the floor will be critical for the Sun in the second half of the season.
If the Sun can continue to shut down even the most high-powered offenses and maintain their leads, their defense will help power them through the end of the regular season and into the playoffs. However, using defense to maintain leads is something the Sun will need to do consistently to continue their winning ways.
Jonquel Jones does it again
Jones is averaging 15.9 points per game and had her fourth game this season with at least 20 points Tuesday night.
She finished the game with 27 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and was 6-6 from the free-throw line as well as 3-7 from behind the arc.
Jones has scored in double figures in 19 of the Sun’s 20 games this season and when asked about her consistency she said, “My teammates have confidence in me. They find me when I’m open. And I just want to come out aggressive and just try to continue that level because I know that they have that trust in me and I want them to have continued trust in me to do it.”
When the lead was cut to four, Jones made four free throws in the last minute to extend the Sun’s lead to eight.
When asked about Jones’ performance late in the fourth quarter that helped the team secure the win, Miller said, “Yeah obviously someone needed to step up in that moment and just make a play for us was to stem the tide and you know JJ making foul shots and you know, big rebounds down the stretch when we got a couple stops there that were needed there in the last two minutes.”
One way that Jones can continue to build her teammates trust is hitting those important free throws at the end of a game. “I think I kind of slipped a little bit in my free throw percentage so
I was trying to focus on that and try to get back into you know, going in the right direction,” she said.
A win is a win even if it’s not the way you want it
Though Connecticut’s bench did let the Sky back into it, Miller put the starters back into the game with 3:36 left to play to finish the game.
A 17-3 fourth-quarter run by the Sky nearly fueled a comeback. However, the Sun’s starters were able to close out the game once again.
After the game Jones said, “We have to be better at the end, just finishing them off. Making sure that we don’t scare our fans too much, and scare ourselves too much. We have to be better at late-game execution.”
Finishing close games will be important as the Sun look to stay in first place in the league and make a deep run into the playoffs.
The Sun wrap up their four-game homestand on August 1 when they take on the Phoenix Mercury at 7 p.m.
Love our 24/7 women’s basketball coverage? Join our Patreon now and support this work, while getting extra goodies and subscriber-only content for yourself.