Sun force Game Five in WNBA Finals with win over Mystics

UNCASVILLE, Connecticut (AP) – With the season on the line, Alyssa Thomas and the Connecticut Sun turned up their defence to stop the Washington Mystics and force a decisive Game Five of the WNBA Finals.

Thomas had 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds and the Sun held the Mystics without a point over the final 2:10 to beat Washington 90-86 yesterday.

“It was just about being together out there, being on the same page, knowing the game plan and protecting home court,” Thomas said. “When we’re all locked in and on the same page, we just move in unison.”

The title will be decided tomorrow in Washington with a first-time champion crowned. Thomas fell just short of the first triple-double in Finals history.

Jonquel Jones had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Sun, who had five players score in double figures.

Connecticut blew a 16-point halftime lead as Washington used a huge third quarter to tie the game at 68. The Mystics kept it going to start the fourth, opening up a five-point lead. With their season on the line, the Sun responded.

Washington Mystics’ Aerial Powers defends a shot from Connecticut Sun’s Jonquel Jones during the game. PHOTO: AFP

Jasmine Thomas hit a three-pointer to put the Sun ahead 84-81. The lead was short-lived as Emma Meesseman answered with a three-pointer from the wing to tie the game again.

Shekinna Stricklen, the league’s three-point champion at the All-Star Game, then shook off a defender before making another three-pointer to give the Sun an 87-84 advantage with 2:22 left. Natasha Cloud made a layup a few seconds later to get the Mystics within one. But Washington didn’t score again.

Aerial Powers, who led Washington with 15 points, missed an open three-pointer in the corner with 27.5 seconds left that would have put the Mystics ahead.

Connecticut got the rebound and Jasmine Thomas sank two free throws with 18.4 seconds left to make it a three-point game.

After a timeout, Cloud drove to the basket but missed the shot and Alyssa Thomas corralled the rebound and hit the first of two free throws to seal the win.

“I think we also had a few open shots we didn’t hit,” Powers said. “The ball movement wasn’t there, we didn’t hit shots. We need to be better come Game Five.”