Your Day in Women’s Basketball, September 7: Bonner leads the Sun to the playoffs

Connecticut’s key offseason addition shines against her former team

A blockbuster deal this offseason saw the Connecticut Sun trade three first-round picks to the Phoenix Mercury for forward DeWanna Bonner. With Jonquel Jones sitting out the season, the Bonner deal has proved invaluable for the Sun as she leads the team in scoring at 19.3 points per game.

In a rescheduled game on Monday night, Bonner’s excellence was more than just a 25-point, 8 rebound performance. She not only helped her new team clinch a playoff spot, but she did so in her first game against her former team of 10 years, the Phoenix Mercury. “That was emotional. That’s 10 years of friendship right there… 10 years of love,” Bonner said during her post-game interview.

The Sun accomplished many of their key goals for the game, and their playoff experience from a finals run last year make them a dark horse in this year’s postseason. Alyssa Thomas added 22/9/9 to the cause while Diana Taurasi led the Mercury with 19 in the loss.

The Seattle Storm just keep on winning. First in dramatic fashion over the Los Angeles Sparks with a buzzer-beater three from the perpetually underrated Jewell Loyd, and then with a dominant blowout against the Minnesota Lynx.

The Storm will attempt to secure the one-seed as their impressive regular season comes to an end. They will have a chance to beat every team at least once when they take on the Las Vegas Aces next week. For now, they’ll continue to make highlight plays for fans to watch, even if the players don’t look themselves.

Despite the heartbreaking defeat to the Storm, Los Angeles responded with a strong defensive performance against the Chicago Sky. It is the fifth loss in six games for the Sky, who are still missing starter Diamond DeShields. They will have to right the ship soon if they want to avoid an early playoff exit.

The Sparks suffered a pair of injuries to key contributors, but their mental resiliency to come back and win after the agonizing loss to the Storm is a testament to their leadership, especially Candace Parker. The All-Star forward said, “We don’t have enough time to dwell… We’re still fighting for a good seed, a top-two seed… I think the motivation is there, and as crazy as it is, we still control our own destiny.” The Sparks can steal the two-seed from the Aces with three straight wins to close the season, including the pivotal regular season finale against Las Vegas.

Dallas continues to hold on to the final playoff spot, winning a huge matchup against the Washington Mystics on Sunday to give themselves a 1.5 game cushion. Arike Ogunbowale led the team with 39 points, and the Notre Dame product is getting all the attention she deserves as an offensive machine this season.

The Mystics, Indiana Fever, and Atlanta Dream are not eliminated yet, but will need exceptional play out of their young stars in addition to a Dallas fallout if they want to keep playing in the bubble next week. Washington has the easiest remaining schedule out of the three, and will look to the veteran play of Leilani Mitchell and the breakout of most-improved player candidate Myisha Hines-Allen to get them there.

Today’s Games

Los Angeles Sparks vs. New York Liberty, 7:00 PM ET

Minnesota Lynx vs. Washington Mystics, 8:00 PM ET

Indiana Fever vs. Las Vegas Aces, 10:00 PM ET

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