Thomas Lifts Sun to Beat Sky
The Sun return to action on Sunday, June 14.
Alyssa Thomas (2nd year, Maryland) made two pressure free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining in regulation to propel the Connecticut Sun to a hard fought and well-deserved 67-65 win over the Chicago Sky and Elena Delle Donne before 4,523 at Mohegan Sun Arena on Thursday, June 11.
Thomas’s late game heroics, which included scoring eight of the Suns final 11 points, improved the Suns WNBA record to 2-1.
The Sky saw their record fall to 1-2.
Thomas, the Suns 6-foot 2-inch power forward whose brother, Devin, plays a similar role for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons men’s basketball team, put on quite a show down the stretch as she single-handedly rallied the Sun from a 57-56 deficit with less than four minutes to play in this battle between Eastern Conference foes.
Thomas started the Sun rally when she hit on two successive power moves off the glass to give the Suns a 60-57 lead at the 3:06 mark.
After a pair of Delle Donne free throws (game high 27 points), Thomas took advantage of a size mismatch in the paint with the Sky’s Courtney Vandersloot to make it 62-59 with 2:15 remaining.
The Sun appeared to seal the win when Kelsey Bone (2nd year Texas A&M) kissed a short floater off the glass to extend the lead to 65-59 with just 1:36 left.
But the Sky and their high octane offense had plenty left in the tank.
Delle Donne hit a pair of free throws and Vandersloot scored on a silky smooth left handed scoop to close the gap to 65-63.
Cappie Pondexter (10th year Rutgers University) nailed a short runner with 10 seconds left to tie the game at 65.
That set the stage for Thomas’s heroics, who was fouled by Vandersloot as she drove to the basket with just 1.9 seconds left.
Delle Donne’s desperation shot at the buzzer was wide.
Alex Bentley (2nd year Penn State) led the Sun with 16 points while Bone and Thomas added 14.
Veteran Camille Little (8th year UNC) chipped in with nine points and did an excellent job defending the high-scoring Delle Donne.
Delle Donne was coming off a spectacular performance in her last game against Tulsa where she scored a career-high — and franchise record — 40 against the Shock.
Delle Donna was held to just two points in the first quarter.
Bone added 12 rebounds in the winning effort.
Suns coach Anne Donovan was obviously pleased with her squad’s performance, particularly with the defensive effort.
The Sky entered the game averaging 94 ppg while shooting 48.6% from the outside. The Suns defense held Chicago to 65 points while holding them to just 36.2% from the field.
“Holding the Sky to 65 points, 27 in the second half, was a key,” Donovan noted. “We talked about needing to do that at the half. We regained our focus.”
The Sun return to action on Sunday, June 14, when they host the Atlanta Dream at 3 p.m.
The Sun edged the Dream 75-70 on Sunday, June 7 in Atlanta behind Alex Bentley’s 17 points.
Sun guard Jasmine Thomas (4th year Duke) set a franchise record with 7 steals in the win over the Dream.
The Suns Chiney Ogwumike, 2014 WNBA Rookie of the Year, will be lost for the season after recently undergoing successful knee surgery.
Former Seton Hall University product and Newark, NJ native, ‘Di Di’ Simmons, who was signed to a training camp contract, was released by the Sun just before the start of the regular season.
After the Atlanta contest, the Sun will make a West Coast swing for three games against the Seattle Storm (June 16), Phoenix Mercury (June 19) and the Los Angeles Sparks (June 21).
The Sun will return to Mohegan Sun Arena on June 26 (7 p.m.) when they host the Los Angeles Sparks.
Follow Bob for all the Sun game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob
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