The Connecticut Sun experienced the highs and lows of the long WNBA season this weekend by splitting a home-and-home series with the Washington Mystics—winning 72-86 at the Mohegan Sun on Friday night, and dropping a 84-73 loss in Washington on Sunday afternoon.
On Friday, the Sun broke a nearly two-month drought against Eastern Conference foes behind a career-high 31 points from Alex Bentley. Connecticut, which had not defeated an Eastern Conference opponent since June 14, broke a seven game Eastern Conference losing streak.
Down by 15 early in the second half, the Mystics staged a third quarter comeback fueled by a 7-0 closing the third stanza. Washington opened the fourth period with another 7-0 run and tied the score at 62. Bentley finally stopped the Mystics’ streak with a three-pointer which ignited a 12-3 Connecticut streak. That put the Sun in charge, 74-65, and Connecticut never looked back. Jasmine Thomas added 15 points for Connecticut, while Kelsey Bone chipped in with 10 points and nine rebounds. Emma Meeseman led the Mystics, who lost for just the second time in eight games, with 15 points.
“At some point you just have to stop the bleeding,” said Bentley after the game. “They left me open, so I just took the shot.”
Sunday was a completely different story however. Playing back in the Verizon Center, it was Washington’s time to dominate. Former UConn star Stefanie Dolson led the way with 21 points, while Talyer Hill tossed in a career-best 20 points to lead the Mystics over the Sun, 84-73. Bone had a team-high 29 points for the Sun, followed by Shekinna Stricklen with 16 and Alyssa Thomas with 14. Thomas, the former Maryland All-American tied her career high with 11 boards. Bentley, Friday night’s star, was held to just two points, but it was just enough for her to break the 1,000-point career scoring mark (1,001).
Dolson, who became one of the most popular players in UConn history during her four years in Storrs, was 6-for-9 from the floor, and a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe. Hill was 7-for-9, including 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. The Mystics, who never trailed in the contest, led by 12 points at halftime and led by as many as 19 points early in the fourth quarter. Overall, Washington shot 49 percent from the floor, and knocked down 28 of 33 from the free-throw line (.848).
After splitting the two games, second-place Washington, which is coached by former Sun mentor Mike Thibault, improves to 13-8 and trail the Eastern Division-leading New York Liberty by 1.5 games. The Sun, meanwhile, fall to 11-10. Currently in fourth place, the Sun are still very much in the postseason hunt, as 3.5 games are all that separate the top five teams in the conference.
This coming week may prove critical in determining Connecticut’s postseason fortunes. The Sun will entertain the Tulsa Shock and the Liberty on Wednesday and Friday nights, respectively, then head to Atlanta where they will take on the conference rival Dream on Sunday afternoon. Tickets for Wednesday and Friday’s games are available at the Mohegan Sun box office and by clicking HERE.
Wednesday night’s contest vs. the Shock will be televised on My9 WCTX, with a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Friday night’s game against New York will also start at 7 p.m. at the Mohegan Sun Arena, and will be televised live on MSG Network. Sunday’s game in Atlanta will begin at 3 p.m., and will be televised on NBA-TV. All WNBA games are streamed live on WNBA Live-Access.