The Connecticut Sun showed their dominance in the decisive Game 3 of the second-round series against the Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday, winning 90-75 to advance to the WNBA semifinals for the fifth consecutive year. The Sun, who finished third in the regular season, will face the second-seeded New York Liberty in the best-of-five series starting on Sunday.
Thomas and Bonner lead the way for Connecticut
The Sun were led by their star duo of Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner, who combined for 53 points, 22 rebounds, 18 assists, four blocks and two steals. Thomas posted a playoff career-high 28 points on 12-of-16 shooting, along with 12 assists and six rebounds. Bonner added 25 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and a steal.
Thomas and Bonner were unstoppable in the first quarter, scoring 18 of the Sun’s 26 points and helping them build a seven-point lead. They continued to attack the Lynx defense in the second quarter, extending the margin to 15 points at halftime. The Sun shot 55.4% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc for the game.
Lynx struggle to keep up with Sun’s pace and intensity
The Lynx, who forced a Game 3 with an 82-75 win on Monday, could not match the Sun’s pace and intensity on both ends of the floor. The Lynx shot just 44.3% from the field and 36.4% from three-point range, while committing 15 turnovers that led to 19 points for the Sun.
The Lynx were led by Sylvia Fowles, who had 20 points and nine rebounds. Kayla McBride added 17 points and four assists, while Napheesa Collier chipped in with 14 points and six rebounds. However, the Lynx did not get much production from their bench, which was outscored by the Sun’s reserves 23-11.
The Lynx tried to make a comeback in the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 11 points with six minutes left. But the Sun responded with a 9-0 run to seal the victory and end the Lynx’s season.
Sun look forward to challenging Liberty in semifinals
The Sun will now face a formidable opponent in the Liberty, who finished second in the regular season with a 22-6 record. The Liberty boast a star-studded roster that includes Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones, Sabrina Ionescu and Courtney Vandersloot. The Liberty swept the Sun in the regular season series, winning all three games by an average of 10 points.
However, the Sun are confident that they can compete with the Liberty and make their third WNBA Finals appearance in franchise history. The Sun have won eight of their last nine games, including four straight in the playoffs. The Sun have also shown their resilience and chemistry throughout the season, overcoming injuries and COVID-19 protocols.
The Sun will rely on their balanced offense, which features five players averaging double figures in scoring, and their stingy defense, which ranks second in the league in points allowed per game. The Sun will also hope to get some contributions from their bench players, such as Brionna Jones, Jasmine Thomas and Natisha Hiedeman.
The semifinal series between the Sun and the Liberty will begin on Sunday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The game will tip off at 3 p.m. ET and will be televised on ABC.