The Connecticut Sun started off 2019 with a win, 84-69, over the Washington Mystics. The Mystics, who were without Elena Delle Donne due to a nagging knee injury suffered last season, just did not have the offense needed to stay with the Sun.
The Sun took the court for their first regular-season game without All-Star Chiney Ogwumike, who was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks. They do not seem to have missed a beat.
Alyssa Thomas was simply outstanding. Thomas scored a game-high 23 points on 11-for-15 shooting. It was just three points off her career-high, which also came against Washington in 2017. Thomas was also just a step faster than the defense:
.@athomas_25 keeps it going. She has 14 with 3:40 remaining in the second!— Connecticut Sun (@ConnecticutSun) May 26, 2019
A @rachelbanham_1 three follows and we are TIED at 37! pic.twitter.com/8A5mTvYUlq
Point guard Jasmine Thomas assisted on six baskets while scoring 13 points. Take a look at this brilliant feed to to Alyssa Thomas:
@jaszthomas x @athomas_25 #WNBA #PhantomCam— WNBA (@WNBA) May 26, 2019
Catch the @ConnecticutSun game live on Twitter pic.twitter.com/mEdp2OrWDJ
The Mystics were held to 37 percent shooting, including 3-21 from beyond the arc. Emma Meesseman, in her first regular-season game since 2017, led Washington with 14 points, but on 13 field goal attempts.
The scoring was relatively even early, with 12 lead changes occurring in the first half. The Mystics’ last lead occurred with 2:52 left in the second quarter, going up 39-38 after a pair of Natasha Cloud free throws. The Sun took a three-point advantage into the halftime break, 44-41.
The Sun outscored the Mystics 23-12 to build a 67-53 lead after three quarters. Connecticut was aggressive on offensive, as they generated six of their 14 free throw attempts in the quarter and made all six attempts.
The Mystics’ offensive woes were most notable in the third quarter, going 1-for-9 on shots outside the paint:
The Mystics never closed the gap to smaller than 13 points in the final quarter of play.
Sun fans will have to wait for the regular-season professional debuts of the Sun’s first- and second-round draft picks Kristine Anigwe and Bridget Carleton. They were the only two players not to see any action for Connecticut.
It was not all bad for the Mystics. They played a clean game with only 11 turnovers and matched the offensive rebounds of the Sun. It was just not their night offensively. With a week off before their home opener against the Atlanta Dream, Washington has time to regroup and hopefully get Delle Donne back into the starting lineup.
The Sun should be thrilled with their performance. They have proven to be formidable in the regular season with back-to-back 21-13 seasons. However, they have failed to advance past the second round in the both of them. They take on the Indiana Fever on May 28.