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Sun get past Storm in Sue Bird’s final visit

Oct 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; A view of the offical game ball during the second half of game one of the 2021 WNBA Finals between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Alyssa Thomas poured in 19 points and Natisha Hiedeman drained the go-ahead 3-pointer as the Connecticut Sun beat the visiting Seattle Storm 88-83, dampening a much-anticipated game for Storm guard Sue Bird on Thursday night in Uncasville, Conn.

It was Bird’s final scheduled game in Connecticut, where she was a star for two UConn Huskies championship teams as a college player. The soon-to-retire player posted 14 points, aided by 4-for-5 shooting on 3-pointers, and a team-high seven assists.

But Seattle was scoreless in the last 2:54.

Brionna Jones added 13 points, DeWanna Bonner and Courtney Williams both had 12 points and Dijonai Carrington chipped in 11 for the Sun (20-9), who won their fourth game in a row. Thomas provided 11 assists and Bonner grabbed 10 rebounds.

Breanna Stewart and Gabby Williams, also both former UConn players, scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, for the Storm (18-11). Tina Charles and Jewell Loyd had 14 points apiece, with Charles adding 10 rebounds.

The matchup involved the second-place teams from each conference, and a playoff-type game unfolded.

Hiedeman snapped a tie with a long 3-pointer with 2:42 remaining for what turned out to be the game’s final field goal.

After that, the Storm committed two turnovers and missed three shots as neither team scored again until Courtney Williams’ two free throws for Connecticut with 7.7 seconds left.

Connecticut held a 79-70 edge after Brionna Jones’ layup with about eight minutes to play. Stewart’s 3-pointer capped a 9-0 Seattle surge to knot the game at the 5:56 mark.

Bird racked up eight points as the Storm built a 13-4 lead in less than four minutes.

Connecticut was ahead 44-40 at halftime. The teams combined to score 56 points (28-28) in the third quarter.

It was the first game for Connecticut without recently signed guard Bria Hartley, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. She averaged 4.7 points in three games.

–Field Level Media