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Undefeated Sun come together to beat Sky for fifth straight win

The Connecticut Sun have relied heavily on Alyssa Thomas over the years. On Saturday night, the Sun had to finish the game without her.

Thomas was ejected for committing a flagrant foul with 3:41 remaining in the third quarter when she pulled down Chicago Sky rookie Angel Reese with an arm across her throat.

But her Connecticut teammates had her back. DeWanna scored eight of her team-high 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Sun outlasted the Sky, 86-82, before a sellout crowd of 9,025 at the Wintrust Arena.

Brionna Jones and DiJonai Carrington each had 16 points for the Sun while Ty Harris chipped in with 15 points. Bonner led the team with eight rebounds while Jones and Carrington pulled down six rebounds and Harris grabbed five.

The Sun (5-0), the league’s last undefeated team, grabbed a season-high 28 rebounds.

“It’s a group of players who do play with that chip on their shoulder, do play with that edge and it really permeates in everything that they do,” Sun coach Stephanie White said. “We’re just finding ways to make plays and there were so many players that made those kind of plays whether it was DB (Bonner) steal that got us a layup on the other end of the floor, Rachel’s (Banham) big three, Ty Harris had a big three and Tiffany Mitchell came in and gave us some some great offensive rebounds. In critical moments, there were a handful of players who made big plays for us and that’s what it’s going to take for us (to be successful).”

The Sun used a 27-17 third quarter to pull ahead by two points heading into the fourth, 69-67, after trailing by eight points at the break. The Sky were able to regain a 79-78 lead with 5:23 to play in the final quarter, but the Sun went on a crucial 7-0 run and held the Sky without a field goal until the 1:02 mark in the fourth to seal the win.

Bonner scored five points in the run with a three-point play in the lane and a pullup jumper while Harris drained a 20-foot shot. In the meantime, the Sky missed seven consecutive field goals before Marina Mabrey hit a jumper with 1:02 remaining to cut the lead to three, 85-82.

After a shot clock violation by the Sun, Chicago got the ball back with 34 seconds remaining but coughed up the ball with an offensive foul and a turnover.

Mabrey led Chicago with 23 points, five rebounds, four assists and one steal in the effort. Reese and Dana Evans finished with 13 points each.

“I think it was in our execution,” Jones said. “We knew what we wanted to do, you know, what shots we wanted to get and, you know, we knocked them down. And I think, you know, the experience of… we’ve had we’ve been in some close ones we have the experience we’re a veteran team so I think that kind of pushes us over there.”

Connecticut 86, Chicago 82
At Chicago
Connecticut (86)
Bonner 6-15 4-5 19, Thomas 3-6 3-4 9, Jones 7-8 2-2 16, Carrington 5-11 6-7 16, Harris 6-10 1-1 15, Mitchel 1-6 2-2 4, Nelson Ododa 0-2 0-0 0, Jefferson 0-0 0-0 0, Banham 3-4 0-0 7, Ndour-Fall 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 31-63 18-21 86
Chicago (82) DeShields 1-6 1-2 3, Reese 4-9 5-6 13, Williams 4-8 2-2 10, Mabrey 8-18 3-3 23, Evans 3-10 4-4 13, Carter 4-7 3-3 11, Allen 3-3 0-0 6, Onyenwenre 1-3 0-2 3, Turner 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-64 18-22 82
Connecticut (5-0)           23  19  27  17  — 86
Chicago (2-2)                   24  26  17  15  — 82
Three-point goals: Connecticut 6-17 (Bonner 3-9, Harris 2-4, Mitchell 0-1, Banham 1-2, Ndour-Fall 0-1); Chicago 8-17 (DeShields 0-2, Reese 0-1, Mabrey 4-7, Evans 3-6, Onyenwere 1-1); Att: 9,025

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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