The Connecticut Sun’s road trip started with two games against the team with the best record in the WNBA.

After splitting the contests against the Las Vegas Aces, including a 97-90 victory Thursday night, the Sun will face a team with one of the worst records in the league when they visit the Phoenix Mercury on Friday night.

Connecticut (7-3) had five players score in double figures on Thursday and finished with a 37-31 edge in rebounds. Alyssa Thomas wound up with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

“I think rebounding has always been our identity,” Thomas said. “We’ve kind of been lacking to start the season, so definitely it’s one of the things we want to pick up, and it’s been a huge emphasis for us.”

Jonquel Jones led the Sun with 20 points, DeWanna Bonner scored 19, Courtney Williams had 18 and Brionna Jones contributed 10 as the Sun bounced back from an 89-81 loss to Las Vegas two nights earlier.

Connecticut welcomed back head coach Curt Miller, who returned to the bench after a two-game absence caused by health and safety protocol.

The Mercury (2-7) have lost six games in a row after finishing as the WNBA runners-up a year ago.

“It’s not fun,” first-year coach Vanessa Nygaard said. “I’m the leader, so it’s all on me. I take 100 percent of the blame. It’s on me and how I prepare them and how I get them ready, and I have to be better.”

The frustration showed when star guard Diana Taurasi was ejected late in the second quarter of a 73-70 loss at Chicago on Tuesday in a rematch of last season’s Finals.

The Mercury did take some solace in their improved defensive play, as they held the Sky to 40.9 percent shooting, including 26.3 percent success on 3-point attempts.

“Offense is not really our problem. We know that we’re a capable scoring team,” Phoenix guard Diamond DeShields said. “The biggest thing for us was our defense.”

–Field Level Media