It was a one-sided affair on Wednesday as the No. 3 seed Connecticut Sun blew out the No. 6 seed Minnesota Lynx 90-75 to advance to the semifinal round.
Connecticut was in control the entire game, leading by as many as 19 and never trailing. DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas were stupendous, both producing double-doubles. Bonner scored 25 points and grabbed 10 boards, while Thomas had 28 points and 12 assists. Minnesota struggled offensively all night long with only Naphessa Collier producing. She ended the night with 31 points, but it wasn’t enough to beat the veteran-led Sun squad.
Connecticut will now face the No. 2 seed New York Liberty on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (ESPN) at the Barclays Center.
How the Sun got it done
The Sun established dominance early, scoring the first six points of the game and starting out on a 20-6 run. Bonner and Thomas were crucial during this run, combining for 16 of the team’s opening quarter points. Minnesota countered behind Collier, who had nine points in the opening frame, to help mitigate a potential disaster and shrink the 14-point deficit down to seven by the end of the first.
The Lynx started off hot in the second with a 6-0 run to cut the lead down to one. But Bonner continued to attack the basket and the Lynx had no way of slowing her down. She got to her spots and kept the Sun in control for the rest of the half.
What a duo @athomas_25:— WNBA (@WNBA) September 21, 2023
➡️ 28 PTS, 6 REB, 12 AST
➡️ Set WNBA playoff game record for points created with 58 PTS
➡️ 25 PTS, 10 REB, 6 AST
➡️ 5th player in WNBA History to record 1,000 Playoff PTS
➡️ 7th All-Time in Playoff 3PM
2023 #WNBAPlayoffs | @google pic.twitter.com/cVKu6IGHy9
Connecticut continued to rely on Bonner and Thomas to start the second half. After a timely 3 by Ty Harris, the Sun were up by 18 points, their largest lead of the half. Minnesota struggled to get anything offensively from anyone not named Collier as the team went ice cold from 3, ending the night shooting 36 percent from deep on 8-for-22 shooting.
With their season on the line Minnesota was unable to make a significant run and close the gap. Collier continued to add to her game-high point total, but no other Lynx player assisted her in the comeback attempt. Harris hit a dagger 3 midway through the fourth, ending the night with four 3s and 18 points.
With 1:22 left in the game, Thomas hit a circus shot and converted the and-one opportunity, making it a three-point play and closing the door on Minnesota for good. Collier was subbed out with 39 seconds left and was given a standing ovation for her efforts in front of the home crowd.
Connecticut has found itself in this position before, as they’ve reached the semifinals five years in a row. They still are chasing after their first WNBA title—and now New York stands in their way. They’ll have to continue as the road team against the superteam Liberty, but, with their experience and top-of-the-roster talent, they’ll have as good of a chance as any of the remaining playoff teams to best the Liberty.