Sun stifle Liberty, 71-54
The Connecticut Sun held the New York Liberty scoreless for seven minutes, 47 seconds on Sunday.
Connecticut put on one last virtuoso defensive performance before heading into the Olympic break by choking out the Liberty, 71-54, at Barclays Center.
There’s no such thing as an ugly win because it’s a win.
“We played hard tonight,” Sun head coach Curt Miller said. “(Our) locker room believes they can stop people and (we) have some stretches that are pretty special with this group. And tonight was one of them.
“That is a high-powered offense that plays at a really high pace.”
Jonquel Jones had 17 points, 17 rebounds and five assists for the Sun (14-6) and Briann January had 10 points, four rebounds and three steals. Jasmine Thomas added 12 points.
New York (11-10) averaged 80.5 points prior to Sunday. Its 54 points were the fewest Connecticut had allowed an opponent since an 82-51 win over the San Antonio Stars on Aug. 4, 2015.
The Liberty shot 30.4-percent (17 of 56).
“Really excited about that win,” Miller said. “True trap game for us. Last game before an extended break really required focus, energy, attention, and we wanted to give those three really talented guards attention. I think over the last five (games) with those three between Sabrina (Ionescu), Sami (Whitcomb) and Betnijah (Laney), they were averaging nearly 50 or approximately 50 points, and tonight we hold those three to eight. Just a great defensive effort all night.''
Betnijah Laney was the league’s fifth-leading scorer prior to Sunday. She missed six of her seven shots and scored three against Connecticut.
“It’s honestly the stuff we try to do against every team,” Connecticut’s Jasmine Thomas said. “When we (play against) guards that are really talented, that can score, that they run the offense through kind of like Laney, like Sami (and) Sabrina, we try to just be aggressive.
“We know when plays break down we’re going to have to hunker down on 1-on-1 defense and we challenge each other to be able to do that.”
Kylee Shook scored a team-high 16 for New York (10-11).
The WNBA starts its break for the Summer Olympics on Monday. Connecticut will take over two weeks off and start practicing again on July 18. Its next game will be on Aug. 12 when it plays the Seattle Storm in the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup in Phoenix. Players on the winning team earn in excess of $30,000.
The Sun led almost the entire game. Whitcomb’s three cut their lead to 39-31 just 1:15 into the quarter.
The Liberty proceeded to miss their next 11 shots and turned it over three times. Shook's three with 57.2 seconds left in the quarter ended the drought.
The Sun, meanwhile, went on a 16-0 run propelled by Jones. She started it with a layup, back-to-back threes and a free throw to give Connecticut a 48-31 lead with 4:18 left in the third.
January added a three and a running 14-foot pullup shot after a steal. Thomas ended the run with a 21-foot jumper that gave Connecticut its largest lead, 55-31, with 2:02 remaining in the quarter.
“We were a little bit inconsistent and ragged at times offensively,” Miller said, “but we really did a great job defensively to come away with the win.”