The top-seeded Connecticut Sun begin pursuit of their first WNBA title when they host the sixth-seeded Chicago Sky in Game 1 of their best-of-five WNBA Playoffs semifinal series on Tuesday night in Uncasville, Conn.
Connecticut (26-6) matched a franchise record for victories while amassing the best record in the WNBA this season.
MVP candidate Jonquel Jones was at the center of the Sun’s success. Jones, who already took home AP WNBA MVP honors, was the league’s leading rebounder averaging 11.2 boards per game to go along with the WNBA’s fourth-best scoring average of 19.4 points.
Jones was one of three Connecticut All-Stars alongside veteran DeWanna Bonner and up-and-comer Brionna Jones. Bonner was the Sun’s second-leading scorer averaging 15.2 points while Brionna Jones posted averages of 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds.
“As good as I am, none of this happens without my teammates,” Jonquel Jones said. “I appreciate them believing in me, trusting in me, giving me the ball in tough situations and allowing me just to be a great player.”
Chicago (16-16) lost four of its final six regular season games but earned single-elimination playoff victories against the Dallas Wings and at the Minnesota Lynx to advance to the semifinals.
Kahleah Copper scored a game-high 23 in the Sky’s 81-64 playoff-opening win against the Wings last Thursday and finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds in an 89-76 win in Minnesota on Sunday.
Courtney Vandersloot had a team-high 19 points against the Lynx while Candace Parker scored eight to move past former teammate Lisa Leslie into fifth place on the WNBA’s all-time playoff scoring list.
“Our whole mentality going into this playoffs was, ‘We’re not going to freak out,'” Parker said. “Teams play basketball. They’re good at basketball. They’re going to make runs, and we’ve got to maintain our composure and get back to us.”
Chicago beat Connecticut twice in three regular-season matchups this season, winning both meetings at home. The Sun rolled to a 74-58 win in the teams’ lone matchup in Connecticut on June 27.
–Field Level Media