Uncasville, Conn—-The Connecticut Sun have been playing like a team that is on a mission. They are definitely playing like a championship caliber team of late.
With back-to-back losses to the Suns in Uncasville, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve and her players were a little miffed after Thursday’s 82-71 loss by way of some perceived bias calls.
Minnesota did credit the Sun for their quality of play, particularly DeWanna Bonner, who made 10 of 17 shots and scored a season-high 31 points for the Suns.
“I’ll start by commending Connecticut for the great team that they are, and DeWanna Bonner’s great game,” Reeve said. “She was hard to play against, she made some tough shots. That being said, it’s absolutely unacceptable that our team can only shoot 10 free throws after shooting just seven the other night. Twenty-five to 10. There was a massive discrepancy from a personal foul standpoint (24 called on the Lynx vs. 18 on the Sun). That’s unacceptable. That’s not fair to this team. It’s not fair to the players in this locker room.”
Minnesota forced 19 Connecticut turnovers and committed just 11.
However, they attempted 15 less free throws and made 13 less. They were also outrebounded 31-22 and outshot 49.1 percent to 42.4 from the field. Connecticut scored 13 second-chance points compared to just four for the Lynx.
Sylvia Fowles led Minnesota with 18 points and 11 rebounds while Layshia Clarendon had her best game in a minute with 15 points, eight assists, and two swipes. Olympian Napheesa Collier got into early foul trouble and still played thirty-four minutes, but was held in check with 11 points.
Fourth-place Minnesota (13-9) was hoping to move within a game and a half of the Sun. Instead, they are now 3.5 games behind and trying to gain some ground.
The Suns led by three after one and by six at the half.
Minnesota never led, trailing by 14 heading into the fourth quarter. The Lynx pulled within 74-69 with 1:39 left on the clock, Bridget Carleton’s three-pointer. But the Lynx were outscored 8-2 over the final minute of the contest, with six of those eight Sun points coming from the charity stripe.
Bonner had 11 boards to go with her 31 points and had more free throw attempts (11) than the Lynx. Jonquel Jones had 20 points and seven rebounds.
Clarendon, speaking after Reeve, followed the same line, crediting Connecticut, questioning the free throws. “My answer is 25 to 10,” she said when asked a question. “And that’s the answer I’m going to give to every question, so..”
The Lynx, 13-9 after consecutive losses, remain in fourth place. They play at Chicago Saturday before returning home to host Seattle on Tuesday.