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    CT Sun
    Friday, February 03, 2023

    Sun come unhinged late in loss to Chicago

    Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot (22) grabs a rebound from Connecticut Sun forward Brionna Jones (42) during Saturday's WNBA game in Chicago, where the Sky added the Sun their third straight defeat, 91-81. (AP Photo/Eileen T. Meslar)

    The Connecticut Sun miss head coach Curt Miller, who has been in Pennsylvania most of the week after confirming his mother had a stroke.

    Connecticut misses Jonquel Jones, too, who has temporarily left the team to play in an international tournament in Europe.

    The Sun are also missing the consistency they had during the first third of their WNBA season.

    Connecticut’s offense went out of whack in the final minutes of Saturday’s game at the Chicago Sky as it lost its third straight game, 91-81, before 1,293 at Wintrust Arena.

    “We had too many turnovers down the stretch,” Sun interim head coach Brandi Poole said. “We’ve talked about that ad nauseam. You just can’t turn the ball over.”

    Connecticut (8-5) turned it over 19 times, leadingo to 19 Chicago points.

    A layup by Sun post Brionna Jones tied the game at 76 with 3 minutes, 46 seconds remaining in the game.

    Connecticut proceeded to turn it over four times on its next seven possessions. It missed three shots on the other possessions, including two 3-pointers.

    Chicago, meanwhile, scored 13 unanswered points to go ahead, 89-76, with 28.8 seconds left.

    “Once again, we got into a little bit of a lull,” Sun guard Briann January said. “It’s just being consistent for 40 minutes.”

    All five Connecticut starters scored in double figures led by Jones, who scored a career-high 22 points with eight rebounds.

    DeWanna Bonner had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Sun and January had 12 points with six assists.

    Connecticut couldn’t beat Chicago despite the fact that two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker scored just three points for the Sky (7-7). Or that Stefanie Dolson, the Sky’s starting center, played just 16 minutes because of foul trouble.

    Chicago won because Courtney Vandersloot gave the Sun fits, which she does regulary to every other WNBA defense. She had 18 points, 11 assists and five rebounds as the Sky shot 50 percent fronm the floor.

    “Courtney is one of the best point guards in the world,” January said. “She keeps you on your heels. They were doing a good job of placing shooters in the right spots where it was hard to help. They did a good job down the stretch. She got loose. We let her get loose.”

    Chicago also won because its bench outscored Connecticut's, 42-10.

    Reserves Allie Quigley and Ruthy Hebard (four steals) both scored 13 points for the Sky.

    A common denominator during the Sun's losing streak has been the absence of Jones. She’s playing for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national team at the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket Tournament in France and Spain. The tournament runs through June 27.

    Jones has averaged 21.6 points and 10.4 rebounds.

    “We’re a different team when we don’t have a 6-7 All-Star,” Poole said.

    Chicago, by comparison, has won five straight since Parker returned from an ankle injury.

    Miller missed his second straight game but is headed back to Connecticut.

    “We’ve hit some adversity,” Poole said. “We had a great start (to the season). We’re down an all-star (Jones). We’re down a head coach.

    “True character is shown from adversity. How do we stay together? How do we pick each other up? How do we continue to learn and grow until we get Curt back, until we get JJ back? Everybody has got to step up, and we continue to fight.”

    n.griffen@theday.com

    Connecticut's DeWanna Bonner, left, tries to get past Chicago's Kahleah Copper during Saturday's WNBA game in Chicago. (AP Photo/Eileen T. Meslar)
    Connecticut forward Brionna Jones, center, tries to protect the ball from Chicago's Kahleah Copper, left, and Candace Parker, right, during Saturday's WNBA game in Chicago. (AP Photo/Eileen T. Meslar)
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