August 2, 2020
The Connecticut Sun continue to progress, but fall short against the Lynx
Brionna Jones steps up, but the team still falls short in the fourth quarter
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Minnesota Lynx v Connecticut SunPALMETTO, FL – AUGUST 1: Brionna Jones #42 of the Connecticut Sun grabs the rebound against the Minnesota Lynx on August 1, 2020 at Feld EntertainmentCenter in Palmetto, Florida. Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via GettyImages).
The Sun fell to 0-4 Sunday afternoon, losing in a now-familiar way to the Minnesota Lynx 78-69.
“We played hard again. We’re tired. We’re a little bit just defeated, a little bit mentally but you know we’ve had leads three times out of four at halftime so we know we’re close, we’ve just got a string together two halves,” said head coach Curt Miller.
Connecticut took a 42-35 lead into halftime but scored just 27 points in the second half and just nine in the fourth quarter.
Rebounding needs to improve
For the first time this season the Sun really struggled to grab defensive rebounds, allowing the Lynx to grab 12 offensive rebounds.
“They got on the offensive glass which led to [the] points in the paint problem and you know those are just defeating when you play such good defense and you get first shot misses and can’t clean up the defensive rebounds,” Miller said.
Alyssa Thomas and Brionna Jones grabbed seven rebounds each, Jasmine Thomas grabbed five and DeWanna Bonner grabbed just four rebounds, a season low for her. Overall, the team was outrebounded 40-27.
While it’s clear that fatigue played a factor, with the margin of victory so small for the team this year, rebounding is even more critical than it would be otherwise.
However, the Sun are getting more rebounding help back in the lineup as Theresa Plaisance saw her first action this season against the Lynx. Though she is recovering from back surgery as she gets healthy she’ll provide Connecticut with yet another versatile big who can grab rebounds at both ends of the floor.
Brionna Jones stepping up is exactly what the Sun needs
Jones struggled to get going in the second and third games of the season, but was able to find her rhythm Saturday afternoon. Jones finished the game with 15 points, seven rebounds, one steal and one block in 27 minutes.
Miller mentioned after the game that the team needs a consistent offensive performance to augment Bonner and AlyssaThomas.
After Thursday’s game Miller spoke to his players about what needed to change.
“He challenged us to step up and give them [Bonner and Thomas] another option, something more than what we were giving and I was just trying to do that and try to give them something more.”
If Jones is able to be a consistent third scorer for the Sun, Bonner and Thomas will be able to get more rest, allowing the team to have more energy at the end of games.
DeWanna Bonner hasn’t gotten tired, yet
Bonner had 28 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals, but wasn’t happy with her performance.
“I actually feel like I didn’t play that great today, to be honest. I could’ve gotten more,” she said.
She blamed having “a lot of games in a lot of days” and fatigue setting in for why she didn’t score more.
Bonner does plan on resting tomorrow, not leaving her room if she can, to be ready for practice on Monday.
She was a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line and was 5-11 from behind the arc, a consistency that the team needs. While rest and recovery will be key for the rest of the season, if Bonner can continue to score at the pace she is, the Sun will always have a chance.
Connecticut’s search for their first win continues on Tuesday against the Seattle Storm at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.