The Sky Took Game 3 In Connecticut To Move One Game Away From The WNBA Finals

After the Sun stole Game 1 in Chicago and the Sky answered back with a big offensive performance in Game 2, the WNBA Playoff semifinals shifted to Connecticut for a pivotal Game 3 on Sunday afternoon.

Like Game 1, it was a physical, defensive struggle, as neither team could crack 40 percent from the field on the game, and after one quarter of play it was the Sun who had taken a narrow 21-18 lead thanks to a banked in DeWanna Bonner three at the buzzer.

Bonner finished the game with 18 points to lead the Sun in scoring and 11 rebounds, but most of that damage came at the free throw line where she was 8-of-9, as she was just 4-of-14 from the field. Early on, the only reliable source of offense for Connecticut was Natisha Hiedeman, who had 12 of her 14 points in the game in the fist two quarter, connecting on a pair of triples to provide a needed lift for the Sun.

On the other side, it was the same story as the first two games, where Candace Parker carried the load offensively for the Sky, likewise putting up 12 first half points as Chicago rallied in the second quarter to take a two-point lead into the half.

Helping Parker in this one was Kahleah Copper, who finished the game with 15 points, fueling the Sky’s transition attack as they forced 17 Sun turnovers that proved vital to opening up a bit of offense as their halfcourt sets were struggling to find rhythm.

Along with Copper, the Sky got a big contribution from Emma Meeseman, who had 12 points, six assists, and five steals, providing great activity on both ends of the floor.

The third quarter was mostly a wash, with both offenses still stuck in the mud and the Sun able to trim one point off the Sky advantage to make it a one-point game headed into the fourth. A quick three points in the first minute of the fourth from Brionna Jones gave Connecticut its first lead since the second quarter, and from there the two teams stayed locked in a one-possession battle for most of the quarter.

A Kahleah Copper three gave the Sky a 66-64 lead with 6:14 to go, and the score would not change for nearly four minutes of action, as neither team could buy a bucket.

A Meeseman midranger would break that spell and give Chicago a four-point edge they’d never fully relinquish, with the eventual dagger coming in the form of a Meeseman layup off a gorgeous feed from Courtney Vandersloot, one her five assists on the night to go with 12 points.

Ultimately, the Sky would go on to a 76-72 win to move them one game away from the WNBA Finals. Parker finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and three blocks on the game, once again stuffing the stat sheet. On the other side, Brionna Jones and Courtney Williams each had 12 points to provide a bit of a lift for Bonner and Hiedeman, but as a team they go through too many cold spells, which led to an all-time mic’d up moment when coach Curt Miller pleaded with them to make layups saying he was going to get fired because of it.

Neither team shot well in this one, but the Sun’s combination of missed layups and 17 turnovers (to just 8 from Chicago) was the difference in negating their rebounding advantage. Miller tried to change things up late to no avail, leaving Jonquel Jones on the bench as she struggled in favor of Brionna Jones, but the Sun still could not find enough offense down the stretch. They will have to figure that out if they’re to force the series back to Chicago for a Game 5, or else the Sky will punch their ticket to a second straight Finals on Tuesday night.