Uncasville, CT — The Connecticut Sun shined, as they rode the high of the momentum they built before the All-Star game into the second half of their season, securing a win over the Indiana Fever 89-73.
Why was Indiana so easily outmatched? Simple: without All-Star Candice Dupree, they didn’t have much of a chance. But honestly, even with Dupree, it might not have mattered, because the Connecticut is on a mission — and they are scary good.
“We talk a lot about last year and how we were only a one-half type of team.,” stated Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas. “So far this second half we are picking up right where we left off, and playing even harder.”
Following the All-Star Game, the Sun started out strong with a win over the Chicago Sky, where they set new season highs in assists (27) and steals (14). Coming off of a rough slump losing six out of seven games prior to the All-Star game, the Fever continued a downward trend losing their first two games back after the break, and now, falling to the Connecticut Sun.
Indiana’s Candice Dupree did not travel to Connecticut, and missed the game to stay home with her wife DeWanna Bonner, who recently gave birth to their twins.
Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones, Alyssa Thomas and Jasmine Thomas, all All-Star starters, stepped on the court in the first quarter with conviction. They played in harmony, as they drove the ball to the basket repeatedly, finishing the first quarter to set the tone of the remainder of the game over Indiana, 29-13.
The pace that the Sun set carried all the way through to the second stanza, where they led 47-28. Without Indiana’s leading scorer Dupree, they truly were playing as if they were sick themselves with a fever, as they struggled to make baskets and protect their hoop defensively.
At the end of the first half, the Fever had 12 turnovers while the Sun only had five.
Indiana’s Erlana Larkins and Tiffany Mitchell each led their team with only a mere five points heading into the third period. Larkins already had four personal fouls, forcing her to play more cautiously. Connecticut brought the heat and capitalized on the lack of Indiana’s Dupree and overall energy. Alex Bentley was hungry for action, scoring nine points alone in the third quarter.
Indiana’s Jennifer Hamson came off the bench to score 11 points to help close the Fever’s gap to the Sun, but it was not nearly enough. Although Connecticut did not play as cleanly and confidently as they had the first three quarters of the game, they maintained their lead in the final quarter to come out on top.
Efforts from Jonquel Jones (14 points) Alyssa Thomas (14 points), Jasmine Thomas (15 points), and Courtney Williams (10 points) clinched their decisive win against Indiana, 89-73.
“In the first half, the discrepancy of points in the paint between the two teams at halftime was large,” stated Connecticut head coach Curt Miller. “Couldn’t be more proud of the way we played. Now in the fourth quarter, disappointed with our execution with a low scoring quarter.”
Generally, what made Connecticut the fiercer team, was not only their drive to the basket, but their ability to minimize turnovers and rebound offensively.
“Indiana is a good team that doesn’t turn the ball over a lot, and we were able to get them to commit a lot of turnovers, which turned into points for us,” explained Alyssa Thomas.
The Sun look to continue to carry their momentum and confidence from this win into their next game at home versus the Phoenix Mercury on Aug. 4 at 7 pm ET. They will play seven of their 11 remaining regular season games at home, which positions them well for the final stretch of the season.
“I think our team is in a great position right now. So as long as we continue to play this way, I’m excited,” stated Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones. “Once we get to the playoffs, I think our team can be really dangerous, so I’m really ready for it.”