It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win.Connecticut Sun Coach Stephanie White comments after their victory over the Washington Mystics 92-84
When the Washington Mystics and Connecticut Sun met that day, it was going to be the third meeting already this season, but the difference was the relevancy of this game compared to the other two. This game, which was clearly the game of the week, had important ramifications. If the Mystics win they would be closer or even be tied for second place, as to where they are at now which is third place, behind the Sun. The Sun on the other hand needed this victory just as badly, they were neck and neck with the Liberty for first place in the conference and also right behind them in the number three spot for the playoffs seeding. A loss today could come back and effect later in the season for playoff seeding.
Once the game begin the Sun came out blazing going on a 7-0 run. With the usual suspects Bonner, and Thomas leading the charge the Sun were not just leading the charge offensively they were giving the same energy on defense. Washington did not score until the 5:30 mark of the first period and by the time the Mystics called a timeout the Sun had developed an 11-5 lead. After the first timeout the Mystics seemed to have made adjustments as they turned around the game that was beginning to look like it was going to be a blowout to a close game as everyone expected.
Tionna Hawkins had gotten hot and scored eight points. The Mystics were also shooting better then when they first started. Going from 25% to 47%, and cutting the lead from six to two. Washington momentum did not stop at the first. When the second period started the Mystics continued their run. They went on a 13-6 run midway through the second period, and Sykes had now gotten hot scoring six points. What was shocking was they were doing it without their two best players. Delle Donne, and Natasha Cloud.
The Mystics for the most part kept up with the pace of the Sun. They kept the lead for most of the second period until the 2:36 mark. When play resumed the Sun went on a 10-2 run, and ended the first half with a 46-41 lead. Bonner and Thomas now had scored a combined 29 points. The Sun was once again looking unstoppable.
Once the second half started it was starting to look the way the first half ended. With the Sun going on a 4-0 run. Then the Mystic responded by Myisha Hines-Allen hitting two three pointers. Bringing the game within three 50-47. As expected the game was back and forth and play from both teams was getting a little chippy. Midway through the third period of the game the score was tied at 58. The key to the Mystics stopping the Suns momentum, was the defense from Brittany Sykes.
Tianna Hawkins who started the game with zero points in the first period caught fire in the second. Hawkins now had 22 points to end the third, and also not to mention the Mystics had shut down guard Dwanna Bonner in the third period. This all led up to the one point differential at the end of the third period as the Mystics were ahead of the Sun 59-58. When the fourth period started the Sun went back to the foundation/basics. Which was the defense led by Alyssa Thomas, and the offensive play from Dwanna Bonner. The Sun pulled away 92-84.