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    CT Sun
    Thursday, August 11, 2022

    Sky scorch Sun in first half, win 91-83

    Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller reacts to a call during a WNBA game against the Atlanta Dream on June 15 at Mohegan Sun Arena. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

    Brionna Jones had just missed a layup late in the first half of Wednesday afternoon’s game when Candace Parker began barreling downcourt with the ball with Connecticut Sun defenders crowding her and trying to slow her down.

    The Sun couldn’t stop Parker, nor could they stop Kahleah Copper taking a pass from her for a layup.

    Connecticut was defenseless during the first half as the defending WNBA champion Sky shot an astounding and absurd 83.3-percent. That was more than enough to lead them to a 91-83 win on Camp Day at Wintrust Arena.

    Again, Chicago shot 83.3 percent in the first half (20 of 24). It was a league-record for best shooting percentage in a half.

    “They had a terrific first half,” Sun head coach Curt Miller said. “This is how they play. If you look at their statistics the last five games, they’re shooting percentage is off the charts. They’re number one in the league in field goal percentage (51.8 percent). They’re number one in the league in making open shots. They rarely miss open shots.”

    Parker scored a season-high 25 with 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Sky (14-5) and Copper had 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. Allie Quigley added 13 points, five rebounds and four assists and Azura Stevens had 10 points and five rebounds.

    Chicago finished shooting 59.3-percent (32 of 54) with 28 assists.

    It was the second time in eight days that the Sky set a league-record. They rallied from a 28-point deficit to beat the league-leading Las Vegas Aces on the road, 104-95, on June 21.

    “Obviously they can make contested shots and that’s what makes them so special,” Miller said, “but they rarely miss an open shot. And they shot an incredible percentage. … and they weren’t all easy shots. That’s what they’ve done for the month of June and that’s why they’re so dangerous.”

    Jonquel Jones had 24 points, 11 rebounds and five steals for the Sun (13-7) and Alyssa Thomas added 23 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Brionna Jones also scored 18 with four rebounds and two steals.

    Connecticut was the anti-Sky in the first half as it shot a woeful 29.3 percent (12 of 41). It finished shooting 40 percent.

    “We would miss a contested layup that we’re capable of making and (then) they would run down and score,” Miller said. “That happened consistently all night.”

    Chicago shot 88.9 percent in the second quarter and led 55-33 at the half.

    Courtney Vandersloot’s layup put the Sky ahead, 14-12, with 4 minutes, 54 seconds left in the first quarter and they never gave up the lead.

    Vandersloot’s three gave Chicago its largest lead (66-43) with 4:12 left in the third quarter.

    The law of averages then finally began to take hold as the Sky stopped shooting such a ridiculous percentage while the Sun began making their shots.

    Jonquel Jones’ three with six seconds left cut Connecticut’s deficit to 89-83, but the damage done in the first-half was too great.

    “(I’m) proud of our fight,” Miller said. “We left a lot of points on the board. Some tough layups around the rim didn’t go for us tonight. Our wings had a tough night shooting the basketball. We need more from them.

    “We scored 83 points and didn’t have a great offensive night, so I leave encouraged.”

    n.griffen@theday.com

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