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The Sun Survived A Mystics Comeback To Force A Decisive Game 5 In The WNBA Finals

The WNBA Finals are headed to a winner-take-all Game 5. The Sun were facing elimination on Tuesday night, but despite the Washington Mystics rallying back from a 16-point halftime deficit, Connecticut was able to defend its home court and come out on top with a 90-86 win.

The Sun looked like they were going to walk to a win, racing out to an early lead that extended to as many as 17 points in the first quarter of action. Connecticut had the juice from the get-go, getting a layup from Alyssa Thomas after the opening tip and forcing an early Mystic time out after Shekinna Stricklen canned a triple.

Those in attendance were treated to a comfortable lead for much of the first half. The Sun rarely let the Mystics within 10 points, and by the time the buzzer sounded to mark halftime, Connecticut went into the locker room with a 56-40 lead.

For an added bit of juice heading into the break, Courtney Williams drilled a runner just before the clock hit zero.

With a championship in their sights, though, the Mystics were undeterred by the deficit. Washington managed to wipe out Connecticut’s entire lead by the time the quarter ended, outscoring the home squad by 16 in the game’s third period and shooting a scintillating 58.8 percent from the field as a team.

The Sun did respond when Washington cut their lead to one midway through the frame, but despite the injured Elena Delle Donne heading to the bench with 3:01 left in the quarter, the Mystics closed the third on a 10-2 run to tie things up heading into the fourth. Aerial Powers capped off the team’s torrid frame with a layup.

It looked like Washington was going to ride the wave it found itself on in the third as the game’s final frame began. The Mystics got out to a five-point lead with 6:51 remaining, but Connecticut answered right back. A quick 5-0 run, capped off by Jasmine Thomas layup, tied thing at 77 and set the stage for both teams to spend the rest of the game throwing everything they had at one another.

From this point on, neither team led by more than three points until the Mystics had to start playing the foul game late. The action went back-and-forth, to the point that a gigantic three by Jasmine Thomas saw a response from Emma Meesseman, only for Shekinna Stricklen to come down the court on the following possession, bust out a pump fake that made Kristi Toliver fly into her bench, and then hit a triple.

Both teams went cold down the stretch, and the Sun were able to ice the game at the free throw line. Jonquel Jones’ 18 points and 13 rebounds led the way for Connecticut, but the team’s entire starting five came up huge: Thomas went for 17 points and 11 dimes; Courtney Williams had 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and a pair of steals; Stricklen had 15 points and hit a team-high three triples; and Thomas pitched in 14 points and five assists. Powers’ 15 points, meanwhile, led the way for Washington. Ariel Atkins chipped in 14, while Natasha Cloud nearly had a triple-double with 13 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds.

Now, the series is headed back to Washington, D.C. on Thursday night for a decisive Game 5, which bodes well for the home squad, as they have historically had the upper-hand when the WNBA Finals goes to a winner-take-all contest. The game will tip off at 8 p.m. EST, and both the Mystics and Sun will be gunning for the first WNBA Championship in their respective franchise’s histories.

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