Mohegan Sun—-Sometimes all it takes a little rest and a home cook meal to relax your mind and body.
Jonquel Jones was the catalyst in helping propel the Sun who bounced back from their game one fiasco to even the WNBA semifinals against the Chicago Sky. Even though she missed seven of her nine shot attempts, her mere presence on the court helped spread the floor.
Jones finished with four points, seven boards and four assists in the Sun’s 79-68 win over the Chicago Sky last night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The best-of-five semifinal series is now tied 1-1. The series now heads to Chicago for game three on October 3, at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois at 1pm local time.
Alyssa Thomas worked hard for eight months rehabbing her torn Achilles’ tendon to be able to play for the Connecticut Sun in the playoffs.
“You think how far ahead of schedule she is in her Achilles’ rehab to get back at all and playing is amazing.” Connecticut coach Curt Miller said. “To play in this environment in this big a game and have that tenacity and intensity is remarkable. Players have to follow her and respect her. A night when it wasn’t (Jonquel Jones’) night. Her presence for us was invaluable.”
With Jones struggling offensively, Connecticut overcame an 11-point first quarter deficit with everyone taking part of the action. Thomas had a near triple double off the bench with 15 points, 11 boards and six assists.
Dewanna Bonner scored 15 points, Brianna January, Jasmine Thomas each scored 12.
The Sun led 45-39 at the half behind a strong play by Thomas, who finished the opening 20 minutes with 12 points.
Jones was scoreless in the first half, 0-3 from the field and 0-2 from the free throw line in just 10 minutes. She scored her first bucket late in the third quarter.
“You’ve seen her do it over her career. She’s the toughest player to play this game,” Sun guard Jasmine Thomas said. “To see her come back at a time where that’s what we were missing.”
Connecticut lost only one game at home during the regular season in route to the league’s best record at 26-6. The Sun, who won the last 14 games of the regular season, got off to a slow start in their first game since September 19.
Connecticut trailed 59-58 heading into the fourth quarter before starting the period on a 13-3 outburst to take control of the game. Thomas had six points during that run. Bonner capped it on a trey with 3:59 left making it 71-62.
“It was our balance. Having five people who want to score without forcing,” Sun head coach Curt Miller said. “On a night when it wasn’t JJ’s night, we had so much balance.”
Connecticut won despite WNBA MVP Jones scoring just four points. She didn’t score until 3:11 left in the third quarter but was a defensive presence on the floor.
Thomas, who has played through shoulder injuries throughout her career, was able to return from a surgery in January from an injury she suffered playing overseas last winter.
“This is one of the hardest things I’ve gone through,” she said. “I watched them get after it every game and in practice that pushed me even harder to get back to this moment.”
Kahleah Copper led Chicago with 13 points and Candace Parker added 12.
“You hate to waste one of those good defensive games on her with a loss,” Chicago coach James Wade said. “It teaches you something for the next game.”
Both teams are going to have adventures getting to Chicago on Friday. Game 3 is Sunday in Chicago.