Four players scored in double figures as the visiting third-seeded Connecticut Sun shut down the second-seeded Chicago Sky down the stretch for a 68-63 win on Sunday night in Game 1 of their WNBA semifinals series.
DeWanna Bonner scored 15 points for Connecticut, including the clinching layup in the final seconds after Candace Parker missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer. Alyssa Thomas, Jonquel Jones and reserve Brionna Jones each added 12 points.
The result spoiled a record-setting night for Parker, who led the Sky with 19 points, 18 rebounds, six blocked shots and five assists. She became the first player in league history to supply at least 15 points, 15 boards, five blocks and five helpers in a playoff game.
But it wasn’t enough, as Chicago, which beat the Sun four times in the regular season, made just 24 of 68 attempts from the field. It didn’t score after Emma Meesseman’s 3-pointer with 2:11 left gave it a 63-62 edge.
Kahleah Copper scored 13 points and Meesseman finished with 10, but the Sky were outrebounded 47-36 and connected on just 8 of 30 3-pointers (26.7 percent).
Connecticut landed the first punch in what became a very physical game, opening up a 17-9 lead at the 2:32 mark in the first quarter when DiJonai Carrington stuck a pullup jumper. Chicago rallied within 19-16 by quarter’s end, thanks to a Copper bucket.
The Sky held a narrow lead for most of the second quarter, pushing it to 30-26 when Parker sank a fadeaway jumper from the baseline. However, the Sun rallied and actually led late in the period before Azura Stevens canned a turnaround jumper in the final minute, evening the score at 34 at halftime.
Chicago was able to take a four-point advantage midway through the third period before Connecticut erupted for 12 straight points in just under 3 1/2 minutes, then got a Bonner pullup with 5.2 seconds left for a 54-46 advantage going to the fourth quarter.
–Field Level Media