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Defense helps Connecticut whip Seattle, 89-70 for 21st victory

Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas had a game-high 22 points as the Sun beat Seattle Tuesday night.

SEATTLE, August 27 – Two days after dropping a 12-point decision to the Los Angeles Sparks, the Connecticut Sun got back on the winning track Tuesday night with a decisive 89-70 win over the Seattle Storm.

The Sun (21-9) won for the fifth time in the last six games, creating 17 Seattle turnovers, stealing the ball 14 times and blocking four shots.

Connecticut led by eight points at halftime but sank seven of their first seven shots from the floor in the third quarter and began the quarter with a 22-9 run to seize control of the contest for good. The Sun’s lead never dipped below 19 points for the remainder of the game.

Like she did on Friday night in the big win over Las Vegas, Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas drove to the basket at will. She ran into plenty of defenders as she always does but she sank 10-of-14 shots and scored a game-high 22 points. Thomas also pulled down 11 rebounds and had two steals.

Courtney Williams had 17 points, pulled down five rebounds and had five assists while Jonquel Jones scored 10 points. Jasmine Thomas scored nine point and had a game-high five steals in the game.

Earlier this month, Connecticut had a franchise-record 19 steals against the Storm to steal a 79-78 victory at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The steals kept coming on Tuesday night with the Sun scoring 20 points off Storm turnovers. Jewell Loyd led Seattle (15-15) with 18 points, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. Crystal Langhorne scored 12 points, including a pair of three-point shots.

The Sun remained No. 2 in the seedings for the WNBA playoffs, one game behind Washington (22-8). Los Angeles (18-11) and Las Vegas (19-12) trail the Sun. Connecticut has the tiebreakers against Washington and Las Vegas after winning two of three games against both teams.

Connecticut concludes this three-game road trip with a stop in New York at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night before coming home to face Dallas in Uncasville on September 4.

The Sun led by just two points, 22-20, when Langhorne hit a three-point shot with 45.3 seconds left in the first half. But Connecticut’s Shekinna Stricklen intercepted a Seattle pass and fed Williams, who scored with a basket off the glass for a 24-20 lead after a quarter.

The Sun used a 10-2 run to take a nine-point lead, 34-25, midway through the second quarter.

Jones scored on a break, Alyssa Thomas hit a pair of foul shots, Theresa Plaisance scored in the lane and Morgan Tuck converted in the lane after the Sun had pulled down two offensive rebounds on one possession. After another Seattle turnover, it was Alyssa Thomas scoring on a fast break for a nine-point lead.

The Storm cut the lead to five points but Natisha Hiedeman hit a three-point shot with 3:01 remaining and Jones scored a reverse layup in the lane with 1:35 left to extend the lead to 10 points. Seattle never got any closer than eight points for the remainder of the contest.

Connecticut swept the season series from Seattle, 3-0 — the only team in the WNBA this season to achieve that feat.

It was an outstanding effort after a tough loss to the Sparks on Sunday. Williams had 18 points with nine rebounds, five assists and three steals in the loss while Jonquel Jones added 16 points with 12 rebounds in Connecticut’s first defeat since Aug. 11.

After scorching the Sparks for 26 points in the first quarter, Connecticut lost steam and was held to 26 points on 11-of-33 shooting in the two quarters that followed.

The Sun came within single digits in the fourth quarter as Williams went on a tear for 12 points. However, it was not enough as the Sparks pushed their lead to as many as 16 points with the help of Riquana Williams, who finished with a game-high 21 points.

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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