Connecticut Sun fall to Chicago Sky in overtime despite impressive second quarter run

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The crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena erupted in loud cheers, collectively acknowledging the stunning feat it’d just witnessed.

Sparked by the dominant play of Alyssa Thomas and capped off by a layup from DeWanna Bonner, the Connecticut Sun had just gone on a dominant run to erase a 17-point deficit in less than 3 1/2 minutes, forcing their opponent to call a timeout late in the second quarter.

Despite the impressive spurt and multiple chances to win, the Sun went on to lose to the Chicago Sky 95-92 in overtime Sunday afternoon, falling to the defending WNBA champions for the third time this season.

Bonner led Connecticut with 23 points, along with nine rebounds and three assists. Thomas had 22 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Courtney Williams finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Kahleah Copper led the Sky in scoring with 27 points, also adding five rebounds and two assists.

The Sun dug themselves into a big hole early. They trailed the Sky 27-17 at the end of the first quarter after being outscored 22-10 in the paint and allowing eight points off turnovers in the period.

Starting in place of Candace Parker, who was out for the second consecutive game with a non-COVID illness, former UConn forward/center Azurá Stevens scored the first five points of the game for the Sky, including a 3-pointer. She finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, as well as three blocks.

The deficit continued to grow in the second quarter as Connecticut struggled on defense. With a little over six minutes left, Allie Quigley scored a 3-pointer off an assist from Courtney Vandersloot to give Chicago its largest lead of the game, 38-21.

However, the Sun would completely erase that 17-point deficit within a few minutes.

It all started with Thomas. She subbed back into the game with 4:25 left in the quarter and quickly gave the Sun a boost with a steal and layup. She again led the fast break on the following possession, drawing a foul and trip to the free-throw line, where she trimmed the deficit to 41-29. Williams drained a midrange jumper after that, forcing a Sky timeout. But that wouldn’t stop the run.

Thomas scored a midrange jumper off an assist from Natisha Hiedeman out of the timeout. She grabbed a rebound off her own miss and put it right back up after that for another bucket, extending the 10-0 Sun run. Connecticut would go on a 17-0 run over 3:26, storming all the way back to take a 42-41 lead with 43.2 seconds left in the period to the delight of the home crowd.

The Sky managed to score a few baskets before the break and led 45-44 at halftime. The Sun allowed 34 points in the paint in the first half, already surpassing their season average of 33.4.

Despite the momentum entering halftime, the Sun were slow to get going on offense in the second half. They missed eight of their first 10 shots out of the break. With under four minutes left in the third the contest was tied at 51-51 after Bonner converted an and-one.

Connecticut led 61-58 at the end of the third quarter after holding Chicago to 13 points in the period. The Sun extended the lead to eight points in the fourth, but the Sky eventually came back to take a three-point lead with under three minutes left.

Williams tied the score with a 3-pointer off an assist from Thomas. With the score 81-81 shortly after, Kahleah Copper made one shot at the free-throw line to give the Sky the lead with a little over a minute left.

Chicago head coach James Wade was called for a technical foul after that, allowing Bonner to tie it at the line. But Rebekah Gardner went to the free-throw line as well, giving the Sky a two-point lead with 28 seconds left.

Williams again came in clutch to tie the score, grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring a midrange jumper with 15.2 seconds left. The Sun then got a stop on the defensive end and called a timeout with 3.7 seconds left, but Williams couldn’t get her shot to fall on the final possession, forcing overtime.

The Sun were up six points with two minutes left in the extra period, but a 3-pointer from Quigley started a 9-0 Sky run that put them up 95-92 with 8.1 seconds left. Bonner couldn’t get a 3-pointer to fall on the final possession, with Connecticut’s impressive effort falling just short of a victory.