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Defensive strength helps Sun snap Chicago’s 7-game winning streak – The Collinsville Press
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Defensive strength helps Sun snap Chicago’s 7-game winning streak

Connecticut’s Jasmine Thomas (5) drives to the basket for two of her 20 points in Sunday’s WNBA win over Chicago at the Mohegan Sun Arena. (Khoi Ton photo courtesy Connecticut Sun)

UNCASVILLE, Conn., June 27, 2021 – The Connecticut Sun had a point to prove Sunday at the Mohegan Sun Arena facing a Chicago Sky team that found ways to beat the Sun twice in a span of three days a week ago.

The Sun played some stifling defense to win their second straight game with a 78-54 win over Chicago, snapping the Sky’s seven-game winning streak.

Dewanna Bonner scored a game-high 23 points with a season-high four three-point goals while Brionna Jones had 21 points – her third straight game with more than 20 points. Jasmine Thomas had 18 points.

“They beat us twice last week in Chicago, so we wanted to come out and do better than we did,” Bonner said. “Tonight was about us and how we wanted to focus in. If you want to win a championship, you will have to go through that team so we wanted to prove we could handle that.”

Chicago scored a season-low 58 points and shot just 33.3 percent from the field – the lowest by a Sun opponent this season. Connecticut forced a season-high 18 turnovers and scored 20 points off those Sky turnovers.

“This was a big, big win for us for a variety of reasons,” Sun coach Curt Miller said. “We played hard. We stayed in plays. We tried to keep bodies on bodies so we could contest shots. Our calling card is defense. (Chicago) missed some shots they are capable of making but we contributed to that. We sped (their offense) up at times.”

The Sun (10-5) found a way to win without their MVP-caliber center Jonquel Jones, who is returning from Europe where she helped Bosnia and Herzegovina advance to the quarterfinals of the FIBA EuroBasket tournament over the past two weeks.

Jones has missed five games and the Sun hope she will be available to play Tuesday night in Washington. But she will have to get through the league’s COVID-19 protocols before she can rejoin the squad.

Kahleah Copper and Allie Quigley led the Sky with 11 points, respectively. Courtney Vandersloot dished out a game-high seven assists while Diamond DeShields and Stefanie Dolson each chipped in six rebounds.

Connecticut led by 17 points at one point in the first half before the Sky rallied. They ended the first half with an 11-0 run and scored the first two points of the second half to trim the Connecticut lead to four, 36-32.

The Sun would respond with 10 straight points, all by Brionna Jones and Bonner, to extend the lead to 14 points, 46-32. Bonner (11), Thomas (9) and Brionna Jones (6) accounted for all 26 Connecticut points in the third quarter as the Sun built a 62-44 lead after three quarters. The trio had 62 of the Sun’s 74 points in the game.

“There was a toughness about us,” Miller said. “We weren’t perfect but we played hard.”

Connecticut’s Emma Cannon (32) gets a hand on a shot from Chicago’s Azura Stevens during Sunday’s WNBA game in Connecticut. (Khoi Ton photo courtesy Connecticut Sun)

Beatrice Mompremier came off the bench and pulled down 11 rebounds — a new game and season high. “We stuck to the game plan,” she said. “Limit them to one shot, no second chance points and execute. We were more focused. We were all locked in.”

Brionna Jones had 10 points and six rebounds in the first quarter while scoring a total of 69 points in her last three contests. Bonner scored 20 or more points for the fifth time this season while Thomas scored in double figures for the fourth straight game.

NOTES: Tuesday night’s game at Washington will begin at 7 p.m. and be broadcast on ESPN2. … Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones helped Bosnia and Herzegovina win four games in the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket tournament for the first time and secure a berth in the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament. Bosnia and Herzegovina went 4-2, including a consolation round win over Sweden, 82-63 where Jones scored 34 points with 19 rebounds and four assists. France eliminated Bosnia and Herzegovina in the quarterfinals.

Connecticut 74, Chicago 58 boxscore

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 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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