Uncasville, CT — The Connecticut Sun do not have a player that matches up well against the Phoenix Mercury’s 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner, and frankly, not many teams across the world do. But the Sun were the more physical team Friday night, as they out-scrapped and clawed the Mercury, 87-74.
The Sun constantly had their hands in the passing lanes, deflecting passes and making it tough for Phoenix to get the ball inside to their post players. The Mercury had trouble taking care of the ball, losing the turnover battle 23-9.
Connecticut got big games from Jasmine Thomas and Alex Bentley, which helped offset what Griner delivered for Phoenix. Thomas was one of four players for the Sun in double-figures, scoring 20 points, while her teammate Benltey poured in 18 of her own.
Chiney Ogwumike had a monster second half in her team’s win, scoring 20 of her 22 points after halftime. Ogwumike also recorded ten rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season.
Griner shot it well, scoring a career-high 29 points on 10-for-15 shooting, while snatching nine rebounds. Diana Taurasi was never able to find her shot and struggled throughout the entire game, only scoring seven points.
The Sun lead by as many as 15 in the first half, and out-ran the Mercury through much of the first 20 minutes. They held an eight point lead at the break, and ended the third on a big run to take a 14-point cushion into the final quarter.
The Mercury hung around, but Connecticut kept attacking on offense, and battling for every rebound on the defensive end. Phoenix cut it to nine on a DeWanna Bonner three with a little over two minutes left, but two Chiney Ogwumike free throws extended the lead back to double digits for good.
With the win, Connecticut snapped Phoenix’s post-Olympic break three-game winning streak. The Sun have now won three out of four of their games since the break, and are within reach of the eighth and final playoff spot with six games left on their schedule.