Brooklyn, NY —The NY Liberty won’t win too many games this season, if they continue to perform like they did last night at the Barclays Center.
The Libs, who have lost four in a row since beating Connecticut 81-79 in their opener, committed 29 turnovers. New York set its franchise’s single-game record for turnovers with 30 against the Phoenix Mercury in 1998 and had 29 turnovers against the Los Angeles Sparks last June.
DeWanna Bonner made her season debut for Connecticut and scored 12 of her 16 points in the first half as the Sun beat the New York Liberty 92-65 on Tuesday night before 3,054 in Brooklyn.
It was the first game of the season for Bonner and Courtney Williams, who both started against the Liberty. The WNBA suspended Williams for the first two games for her involvement in a May 2021 fight outside an Atlanta-area nightclub.
Bonner missed the first two games because she was playing with CBK Mersin in Turkey’s Women’s Basketball Super League — many WNBA players go overseas during the offseason to supplement their income which is nowhere close to other North American pro sports.
“I’ve been up since around 5 o’clock this morning,” Bonner said. “It’s been tough getting some sleep and things like that but once it’s game time and those lights go on, I don’t care. I’m going to step out and play.”
Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller put together a great defensive game plan against the NY Liberty the second time around, he wasn’t conservative this time.
The Sun (2-1) scored 44 points off 32 total turnovers by New York. That included 20 first-half turnovers for 32 points.
The WNBA record for most turnovers in a game is 33. The Utah Starzz did that twice in 1997 and the Washington Mystics had that many the following season.
“That was on me,” Miller said. “We were going to be aggressive (tonight). At times, they were going to make some easy baskets because of our aggression but it worked.
“The points off of turnovers were obviously the biggest story of the game, especially when we still had moments tonight where our offense struggled.”
Connecticut missed their first seven shots and fell behind, 10-2, causing Miller to call a timeout and bring DiJonai Carrington, Brionna Jones, and Natisha Hiedeman off his bench.
Right after the substitution, the Sun went on a 27-5 run. That included 18 straight points that gave them a 29-15 lead with 7 minutes, 51 seconds left in the first frame of play.
All 11 Sun players scored for the Sun. Alyssa Thomas had 12 points, six boards and Jonquel Jones chipped in 13 points and six rebounds.
The Liberty finished on 42.3% (22-52) shooting from the floor, 31.8%(7-22) from downtown and 77.8% (14-18) at the charity stripe line.
Hiedeman (15 points, 3 steals) and Brionna Jones (14 points, 4 boards) both provided a huge spark for the Sun off the bench.
Brionna Jones ended the half with a short hook shot to put Connecticut ahead, 51-32.
From the 2:53 mark of the third quarter to the 5:57 mark in the fourth, the Sun went on a 20-5 run over that 6:56 minute span and closed the game out.
Stefanie Dolson finished the game as the team’s second-leading scorer with 13 points 71.4% (5-7) shooting from the hardwood and 50% (4-8) from downtown. Betnijah Laney was top scorer for the Liberty with 16.
Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu made 1 of 4 field goals for 2 points in 25 minutes. She made 10 of 18 shots for 25 points in New York’s May 7th win.
“This is a group that prides itself on the defensive end,” Miller said. “I didn’t know we could disrupt as talented a backcourt as Sabrina, Sammy Whitcomb and Betnijah are. That’s an elite backcourt. I’m really, really happy with that. At the same (time), we can’t have the first five minute start night-in and night-out.”
The Liberty will travel to Minnesota to play the Lynx on May 24 at the Target Center for an 8 P.M. start time.