Sun close out regular season at Indiana
Mohegan — The Connecticut Sun are locked into the second seed in the WNBA playoffs with a double-bye to the semifinals.
It leaves little for the Sun to accomplish on Sunday against the Indiana Fever on the final day of the regular season (4 p.m., Bankers Life Fieldhouse, WCCT).
Connecticut became the number two seed after losing in overtime to the Chicago Sky on Friday night, 109-104, to the Chicago Sky before 8,077 at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Sun head coach Curt Miller wasn’t sure how he was going to go about handling Friday’s game because his team had already clinched the double-bye.
Sure, Connecticut still had a shot at the number one seed. Yet Miller was uncertain whether he should throttle back a scooch to avoid injuries.
Once the game began, the Sun (23-10) went hard after the win.
“We don’t like losing, regardless of us (already) solidifying (a top-two seed),” Williams said. “We don’t like to lose. Especially at home … It was important for us to do it in front of our fans.”
Jonquel Jones said, “We wanted to go gung-ho.”
It was just Connecticut’s second home loss as it finished a league-best 15-2 and tied the franchise record set in 2011.
The Sky (20-13), the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx are the only teams Connecticut didn’t beat in a regular-season series.
Diamond DeShields, one of the Sky’s three All-Stars, scored a game-high 30 with seven rebounds. Her 21-foot jumper put her team ahead to for good, 99-98, with 2 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in overtime.
Courtney Vandersloot added 19 points and 11 assists for Chicago.
Courtney Williams had 25 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and four steals, Jones had 18 points and nine rebounds, and Jasmine Thomas had 13 points, six rebounds and three assists for Connecticut
Chicago rallied to win trailing 85-75 with 7 minutes, 1 second left in regulation.
It didn’t look like overtime would be necessary with time running out in regulation. The Sky led by three points when Sun Jasmine Thomas was forced to put up a shot and missed a 26-foot shot.
Williams, all 5-foot-7 of her, someone got the offensive rebound and was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left.
Williams made all three to tie it. Chicago missed its final shot after an inbounds play.
“My heart was about to jump out of my chest,” the normally confident Williams admitted. “That’s exactly how I felt. I was nervous, but I just shot them like I always do.”
The Sun had a chance to force a second overtime trailing 107-104 with 7.3 seconds left, but Stricklen’s 3-pointer was off the mark.
“Well that was fun,” Miller said. “That’s playoff basketball. Two high-level teams playing (hard) down the stretch. Disappointed that we couldn’t hold that fourth-quarter lead, but we made some big plays to get it to overtime, made some big plays to stay in that game even late.
“I’m proud of our grittiness. Proud of what we did at home this year.”
• Chicago surprised Jones before the National Anthem with a video announcing it would be donating to her GoFundMe for hurricane relief in her native Bahamas, followed by presenting her a check for $5,100.
“To see (that gesture), I just kind of broke down a little bit,” Jones said. “For them to be so generous as they were, to give (me) that check and everybody coming together to do what they did, it just shows the type of organization and franchise that they have and the people that are there. I’m humbled.”
Jones said she had talked to her parents and that they were safe. As of Wednesday, she hadn’t heard from them in three days.
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The Connecticut Sun traded Courtney Williams, at her request, to the Atlanta Dream on Wednesday and acquired Briann January and a 2021 second-round pick from the Phoenix Mercury as part of a three-way deal.