The Connecticut Suns are not over yet. Facing the playoffs at home on Tuesday night, the Suns outscored the Chicago Sky in Game 4, 104-80. The series is now tied 2-2 and the action will shift back to Chicago for a winner-take-all in Game 5 on Thursday night.
With their backs against the wall, the Suns emerged with unprecedented energy and enthusiasm. They flew on both sides of the ball and built a double-digit lead in just 2:39. While the Sky were able to linger for a while, they never seriously threatened to take the lead, and the Suns pulled out cleanly late in the third quarter.
After their offense struggled for most of the series, the Suns were unstoppable in this series. They set a new WNBA playoff record with 66 points and a franchise playoff record with 104 points and 56.9 percent shooting.
DeWanna Bonner had 19 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks in a lead performance that also saw the Suns get Courtney Williams In a much-needed performance, he scored 19 points of her own. Alisha Thomas also had one of her typical performances, with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
With 16 points led by Kahleah Copper, all five starters scored in double figures for the Sky. As a team, they’re shooting 47.6 percent from the field and have little trouble on offense. However, their defense leaves a lot to be desired. At no point did they embarrass the sun.
Here are some key takeaways from the game:
The Suns finally layup
In Game 3 During the game, Sun’s coach Curt Miller was enraged by coach Curt Miller asking why his players couldn’t make a layup on his microphone playback clip. “Any advice for a professional layup?” Miller said. “Like, honestly, I’m going to get fired because we can’t layup”
In Game 4, they finally figured it out and potentially saved Mi in the process Le’s job – at least one more game. The Suns were automatic in this game, taking 26 of 40 shots in the paint and 33 of 51 in the paint. In the process, they set a new WNBA playoff record with 66 points in the restricted area. Their success at the rim also set new franchise records for their field goal percentage (56.9) and points (104) in the playoffs.
While the Suns were simply better around the rim in many situations, their forced turnovers and ability to grab offensive rebounds also played a role in their Game 4 success effect. They turned the sky over 15 times, which gave them 11 fast-break points and grabbed nine offensive rebounds en route for 15 second-chance points. Looking easier in those situations also helped the Suns build some confidence after a tough Game 3.
In her first time with the team, Courtney Williams is the most One of the dynamic backcourt scorers. She can take over at times for a quarter, or even a half, and was the team’s tie for the scoring lead during the team’s 2019 Finals run. She hasn’t been able to reach those heights since returning to Connecticut — at least until Game 4.
On Tuesday night, she played her best game of the playoffs at the best time for the Suns Contest. She had 19 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. Even more encouraging is her approach. She’s getting into the paint and cutting the ball, not content with low-percent mid-range pull-ups.
Especially the third quarter, back to 2019. Williams took over the game, tearing the Sky defense apart, scoring 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting. At one point, she hit three straight layups to extend the Suns’ lead to 16. When Williams operates like this, it gives the Suns a whole different dimension on offense. Whether she can do it again in Game 5 remains to be seen; the Suns may need her if they want to win.
Sky never locked up
Throughout the regular season, Sky had many halves or games that didn’t seem to be involved, which is understandable championship game . More worryingly, they haven’t been able to change those habits in the playoffs.
Game 4 is another example. They were slow to run off the block, allowing the Suns to overtake and overwhelm them in the opening minutes. Aside from a brief bout in the second quarter, they never found the focus or cohesion they needed to get back into the game. There are so many moments like this, Azura Stevens just left when Courtney Williams got the ball.
Or no one alerted Candice Parker to the chasing Natissa Heideman in the third quarter, and then they lost Williams completely on the other end.
To their credit, the Sky has done a fantastic job recovering from the worst of the season. They have only lost back-to-back games once and are already 2-0 in the knockout rounds. Going back to last season, they were a perfect 4-0 against elimination. Do they have more responses?