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Sun Shaded By Sparks at Mohegan Sun Arena

Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller (AP Photo)

Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller (AP Photo)


Candace Parker poured in a game-high 22 points to lead the LA Sparks to a 77-72 win over the Connecticut Sun Thursday night in front of 4,766 fans at Mohegan Sun Arena. The win was the fifth straight for LA. The Sparks are off to their best WNBA start since 2003 when they opened with nine consecutive wins.

Jasmine Thomas had a superb all-around effort for the Sun with 17 points along with some hard work on the defensive end.

“We had a good start and that was definitely a positive,” said Thomas. “We did some great things on defense.”

Alex Bentley chipped in with 14 points (10 in the first half) for the Sun who fell to 1-3.

The Sun had a strong start, taking a 17-7 lead early in the first quarter, courtesy of some aggressive defense which forced LA turnovers (17 in total) and resulted in Sun transition baskets.

Connecticut’s top draft picks, Morgan Tuck and Rachel Banham, gave Coach Curt Miller’s squad some quality minutes off the bench.

The Sun held a 41-30 lead with 3:30 left in the first half but the Sparks scored 11 straight points. The Sun left the court with a slim 43-41 lead at the half.

The Sparks took their first lead of the game with 8:36 left in the third quarter, 45-43, and never looked back as Parker, Nneka Ogwumike and Jantel Lavender dominated in the paint.

The Sun pulled to within 73-69 with 25 seconds remaining but a game-tying three by Thomas just missed.

“I give a lot of credit to our guards, Rachel (Banham), Jas (Jasmine Thomas) and Alex (Bentley) for not allowing Alana Beard to dictate the game,” said Sun coach Miller in his postgame assessment. “We really battled tonight and had better overall movement.”

In spite of the improved defensive effort, the Sun need to shoot a lot better, particularly if they expect to be successful in close games. Connecticut shot 37.1% from the field and a woeful 21.1% on three-pointers (4-for-19). They weren’t much better from the foul line converting 16 of their 24 attempts.

The Sun’s Kelsey Bone was held to just six points and was credited with 2 rebounds in 19 minutes of action. Alyssa Thomas was limited to seven points.


The Sparks silky-smooth point guard, Christi Toliver, entered the contest without a turnover in the first four games. On the first possession of the game Toliver, a Maryland grad, made an errant touch pass for her first no-no of the season.

Essence Carson, a Rutgers grad, is a prominent member of the Sparks starting five. Carson scored eight points (4-for-8) in 18 minutes of action.

The contest marked a family reunion for the Sun’s Chiney Ogwumike and sister Nneka Ogwumike.

The Sparks Candace Parker, snubbed by the Olympic basketball committee, is rapidly closing in on the 4,000 career point total. Parker is 416 points shy and should easily reach the milestone this season.

Did you know?

The Suns rookie center Jonquel Jones was born and raised in Freeport, Bahamas. There are only three gyms in the Bahamas, so Jones, sensing a basketball future, relocated to the US at the age of 14.
Jones had a great college career at George Washington, leading the nation in rebounding average (14.6pg) in her senior season.

The Sun hit the road to face Seattle and Breanna Stewart (5/28) and Phoenix (5/31).
The next home game is June 3 with Atlanta (7 p.m.).

Keep your eye on the Sun shooting percentages!!!

Follow Bob on Twitter for all the Sun and WNBA news: @WhitneyBob

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