The Connecticut Sun aren’t done yet. Facing elimination on the home floor on Tuesday night, sunlight come up with a dominant performance to race at night Chicago Sky for a 104-80 win in Game 4. With the series now tied at 2-2, the action will shift back again to Chicago for a winner-take-all Game 5 on Thursday night.
Making use of their backs contrary to the wall, sunlight arrived with just as much energy and enthusiasm as everone expected. These were flying around on both sides of the ball and needed just two minutes and 39 seconds to create a double-digit lead. Although Sky could actually hang around for some time, they never seriously threatened to take the lead, and sunlight pulled away once and for all late in the 3rd quarter.
After fighting their offense for a lot of this series, sunlight were unstoppable in that one. They set a fresh WNBA playoff record for points in the paint with 66, and new franchise playoff records by scoring 104 points and shooting 56.9 percent from the field.
DeWanna Bonner went for 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks in a respected performance, as the Sun also got a much-needed big showing from Courtney Williams, who added 19 points of her very own. Alyssa Thomas also had among her typical performances, chipping in with 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Led by Kahleah Copper with 16 points, all five starters scored in double figures for the Sky. As a team, they shot 47.6 percent from the field and generally had little trouble on the offensive end. Their defense, though, left much to be desired; they didn’t make things problematic for sunlight at any point.
Here are a few key takeaways from the overall game:
Sun finally create a layup
During Game 3, the Sun’s exasperated coach, Curt Miller, was caught on his mic’ed up segment questioning why his players couldn’t create a layup. “Any suggestions about pro players creating a layup?” Miller said. “Like, honestly, I’m gonna get fired because we can not create a layup”
In Game 4, they finally figured it out and potentially saved Miller’s job along the way — at the very least for just one more game. SUNLIGHT were automatic in that one connecting on 26 of 40 attempts in the restricted area and 33 of 51 attempts in the paint overall. Along the way, they set a fresh WNBA playoff record with 66 points in the paint. Their success round the basket also played a large role within their new franchise records for field goal percentage (56.9) and points (104) in a playoff game.
As the Sun, oftentimes, simply did a more satisfactory job finishing round the basket, their capability to force turnovers and grab offensive rebounds also played a job within their Game 4 success. They turned the Sky over 15 times, which got them out and running for 11 fastbreak points and pulled down nine offensive rebounds on the way to 15 second-chance points. Looks in those situations were easier and in addition helped sunlight build some confidence following a rough Game 3.
Williams turns up
During her first stint with the team, Courtney Williams was probably the most dynamic backcourt scorers in the league. She could dominate quarters, halves even games sometimes, and was the team’s joint-leading scorer throughout their set you back the Finals in 2019. Since time for Connecticut, she’s not had the opportunity going to those heights — at the very least not until Game 4.
On Tuesday night, she delivered her best game of the playoffs at an ideal time for sunlight. She finished with 19 points, four rebounds, and three assists on 9 of 14 from the field. A lot more encouraging may be the way she went about any of it; she was engaging in the paint and cutting off the ball rather than settling for a blast of low percentage mid-range pull-up jumpers.
The 3rd quarter, specifically, was a throwback to 2019. Williams overran the frame, slicing the Sky’s defense apart on the way to 10 points on 5 of 5 from the field. At one point, she scored three straight layups to push the Sun’s result in 16 points. When Williams is operating like this, it gives sunlight a totally different dimension on the offensive end. Whether she can perform so again in Game 5 remains to be observed; the Sun might need her to should they desire to win.
Sky never locked in
Through the entire regular season, the Sky had numerous halves or games where they seemed disengaged, also it was understandable coming off a championship run. Also worrying is they haven’t had the opportunity to shake those habits in the postseason.
Game 4 was another example. These were slow out from the blocks, allowing sunlight to outwork and overwhelm them in the opening short while. Save for a short spell in the next quarter, they never found the focus or cohesion essential to reunite in the overall game. There were way too many moments such as this one where Azura Stevens just walked from Courtney Williams when she had the ball.
Or that one in the 3rd quarter where nobody alerted Candace Parker to the truth that Natisha Heideman was tracking back, and they completely lost Williams on another end.
With their credit, the Sky did a good job bouncing back from their worst moments this year. They lost back-to-back games only once, and so are already 2-0 in elimination games. Dating back to to last season, they’re an ideal 4-0 when facing elimination. Do they will have yet another response inside them?