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Sun turn it on in the second half, beat Wings to advance

Sportsnaut
Oct 2, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, USA; A game ball waits on a sanitation cart during game 1 of the WNBA finals between the Las Vegas Aces and the Seattle Storm at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

DeWanna Bonner scored 21 points as the Connecticut Sun dominated the second half on the way to a 73-58 win over the Dallas Wings on Wednesday in an elimination Game 3 during the first round of the WNBA playoffs in Arlington, Texas.

The Sun, the third seed in the postseason, advance to play second-seeded and defending league champion Chicago Sky in a best-of-five semifinal series beginning Sunday in the Windy City. Connecticut is in the WNBA semifinals for the fourth consecutive year but has yet to win a championship.

Short-handed Dallas, the sixth seed, ran out of gas after forcing a deciding third game in the series. Arike Ogunbowale, the Wings’ leading scorer this season, had been ruled out of the series after abdominal surgery last week, but she entered in the third quarter and played six minutes, missing all three of her shots.

Dallas also lost starting center Isabelle Harrison to a right ankle injury late in the first quarter.

The Sun burst away from a tied game at the half, outscoring Dallas by 11 points in the third quarter and eventually leading by as many as 19 points after a layup by Odyssey Sims with 7:19 to play before cruising to the finish line.

Alyssa Thomas added 13 points for the Sun, with Natisha Hiedeman scoring 11 and Jonquel Jones contributing 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Marina Mabrey led the Wings with 20 points, but she committed a game-high eight turnovers. Veronica Burton added 10 points, and Teiara McCowan grabbed 12 rebounds for Dallas, whose 58 points were a season low.

Dallas, hosting a playoff game for the first time since the franchise moved to North Texas before the 2016 season, led 19-15 after a ragged first quarter for both teams.

The Wings were up by as many as four points in the second period. However, they could not pull away from Connecticut despite a stretch when the Sun went without a field goal for seven minutes and missed nine consecutive shots from the floor. Bonner scored the Sun’s final five points of the half to pull Connecticut into a 34-34 tie at the break.

Mabrey led all scorers with 12 points in the half while Bonner paced the Sun with 11 points.

Connecticut pushed to the lead with a dominating third quarter that featured a 9-2 run that produced a 49-40 advantage after Thomas’ finger-roll layup at the 4:22 mark. Jones’ layup with 3.1 seconds to play in the third granted the Sun a 57-46 edge heading into the final period.

–Field Level Media