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Connecticut throttles Minnesota to grab series opener, 90-60

DeWanna Bonner drives to the basket in Wednesday night’s playoff win over Minnesota at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

UNCASVILLE, Sept. 13, 2023 – Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas has been a candidate for the league’s MVP because she has consistently carried the load for the Sun this season. On Wednesday night, Thomas got plenty of help from her teammates.

The Sun drained a franchise playoff record 16 three-point shots and put five players in double figures as No. 3 Connecticut rolled past No. 6 Minnesota, 90-60 in game one of their WNBA quarterfinal series before 5,056 at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Connecticut can move on with a victory in game two of the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. here in Uncasville.

DeWanna Bonner scored a team-high 17 points and pulled down a team-high 15 rebounds while Thomas scored 15 points and had 10 assists. Rebecca Allen, who hit 5-of-6 from three-point range, scored 15 points with Tiffany Hayes adding 14. Ty Harris came off the bench to score 12 points, including 3-of-3 from three-point range.

“We got contributions from everyone and that is how it will have to be if we’re going to be successful (in the playoffs),” said Sun coach Stephanie White. “We had a high level of intensity and activity and that carried over for us offensively.

“It is just a big win for us,” she said. “We certainly understand the job isn’t done but it’s a good start.”

The 30-point win by the Sun is the largest in playoff history for Connecticut.

Kayla McBride had 16 points for the Lynx with Napheesa Collier scoring 14 points. Minnesota committed 19 turnovers that led to 30 points by the Sun.

“It seemed like we were surprised by Connecticut for some reason,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “We just didn’t handle it. We turned the ball over like crazy. It was awfully disappointing.

“We understand what Connecticut is capable of doing but for some reason we were surprised by that. We have to find an answer for that,” she said.

Minnesota had a 22-20 lead early in the second quarter before the Sun went on an 8-2 run to take a four-point lead, 28-24. Harris had eight of Connecticut’s first 10 points in the quarter. After a media timeout, the Sun went on an 11-3 run to extend their lead to 12 points with DiJonai Carrington scoring five points in the run.

Minnesota’s Napheesa Collier is called for a charging foul against Connecticut’s Tiffany Hayes in Wednesday’s playoff game.

Connecticut kept their foot on the gas in this one. They opened the third quarter with a 10-4 run to expand their lead to 20 points. Thomas had six points and an assist in the run.

The Lynx cut the lead to 17 after three quarters but could get no closer. The Sun held the Lynx to eight points in the fourth quarter.

Allen had a playoff career-high with 15 points and added six rebounds, three assists and four steals.

Connecticut’s record of 16 three-point shots snapped the old record of 10 set in 2019 against the Los Angeles Parks. It is the second-most three-point shots in a WNBA playoff record (tied with Phoenix in 2007 and Washington in 2019). The WNBA record is 23 three-point shots by Las Vegas in 2022.

Connecticut 90, Minnesota 60
At Uncasville
Minnesota (60) Miller 2-9 0-0 5, Collier 5-12 4-4 14, Juhasz 2-3 1-4 5, McBride 6-14 2-2 16, Mitchell 0-3 0-0 0, Carleton 3-6 0-0 6, Millic 0-0 2-2 2, Banham 3-7 0-0 8, Powers 0-6 4-4 4. Totals 21-60 13-16 60
Connecticut (90) Allen 5-10 0-0 15, Bonner 6-17 3-4 17, Thomas 7-15 1-4 15, Hayes 4-7 2-2 14, Hiedeman 2-5 0-0 6, Nelson-Ododa 1-2 0-0 2, Carrington 4-7 1-1 9, Harris 4-7 1-1 12, Brown 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-70 8-12. Totals 90
Minnesota         16  16  20  8  — 60
Connecticut       18  28  23  21  — 90
Three-point goals: Minnesota 5-25 (Miller 1-3, Juhasz 0-1 McBride 2-9, Mitchell 0-1 Carleton 0-3, Banham 2-6 Powers 0-2); Connecticut 16-30 (Allen 5-6 Bonner 2-9, Thomas 0-1, Hayes 4-6 Hiedeman 2-4, Carrington 0-1, Harris 3-3). Att: 5056

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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