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Connecticut routs defending WNBA champion Minnesota for 2nd straight win

With 12 points, Jonquel Jones was one of six Connecticut Sun players in double figures Sunday night as the Sun routed Minnesota.

It’s been a while since the Connecticut Sun had such a big lead that the fourth quarter was essentially practice time for the second unit.

With sparkling shooting from three-point range, the Sun led by as many as 31 points in an 83-64 rout of the defending WNBA Minnesota Lynx Sunday night at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

Not only did Connecticut (12-10) capture their second straight game but they won the season series with the Lynx, picking up an important tiebreaker edge when it comes to earning one of the top eight spots in the WNBA playoffs. Connecticut also beat Minnesota (12-10) in May and has won two of the three games between the two teams.

Morgan Tuck led six Connecticut players in double figures with 15 points and she tied her career-high with four 3-point shots. She made her first three shots from long range. The Sun made 12 three-point shots while the Lynx made just three.

Jonquel Jones had 12 points, including two three-point shots, Minnesota native Rachel Banham had 11 points and three three-point shots on her 25th birthday while Shekinna Stricklen scored 10 points, including a pair of three-point shots.

Jasmine Thomas had 11 points for the Sun while Courtney Williams added 10. Minnesota’s Sylvia Fowles was the only player in double digits with 12 points while Lindsay Whalen scored eight points. Maya Moore had just five points for the Lynx.

While the Sun torched the Lynx from the outside, they also did the job in the paint, outrebounding Minnesota, 41-27 turning 13 offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points. Williams led the way with eight caroms while Alyssa Thomas pulled down six rebounds.

The Sun led 24-20 after one quarter but Connecticut limited Minnesota to just six field goals in the second quarter (6-of-22) as they took an 11-point lead at halftime, 44-33.

Banham, who grew up in Minnesota and had plenty of family and friends in attendance, helped spark the Sun by scoring nine points in the first half (3-for-3) – all from long range.

A Whalen jumper cut the Sun lead to nine early in the third quarter but that was as close as Minnesota would get.

Williams hit a jumper in the lane and then Jasmine Thomas stole the ball and raced in for a layup with 5:44 left in the third quarter and the Sun were up by 16 points, 51-35.

Minnesota cut the lead to 10 points with 2:07 left in the third quarter but the Sun closed out the quarter with a 9-1 surge capped off with another three-point shot from Tuck with 23.4 seconds remaining.

A 15-3 run by the Sun to open the fourth quarter that included three-point shots from Tuck, Layshia Clarendon and Jonquel Jones sealed the victory and swelled the lead to 31 points.

The Sun return to the Mohegan Sun Arena on Tuesday night to host Atlanta at 7 p.m.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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