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Bonner and Allen lead Connecticut to a 78-63 win over New York in Sport 1 of WNBA semifinal sequence

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Third-seeded Connecticut misplaced all 4 video games between the groups within the common season, together with getting blown out twice in New York, however that did not matter to the Solar.

Connecticut Solar ahead Alyssa Thomas, heart, drives to basket towards New York Liberty ahead Jonquel Jones, proper and guard Courtney Vandersloot throughout the first quarter of a WNBA basketball sport Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in New York AP Picture/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

NEW YORK (AP) — DeWanna Bonner and the Connecticut Solar put forth a stellar defensive effort to take the opener of their semifinal playoff sequence towards the New York Liberty.

  • Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas shoots .

    Thomas and Bonner assist the Solar advance to their fifth straight WNBA semifinals

  • Connecticut Solar coach Stephanie White named WNBA Coach of the 12 months

Bonner scored 20 factors, Rebecca Allen added 18 and the Solar held New York to a season low for factors in a 78-63 victory Sunday.

“They’re such an offensive juggernaut, we needed to make issues as tough as attainable and I believe our staff took possession of that immediately,” Connecticut coach Stephanie White mentioned.

Sport 2 of the best-of-five sequence is Tuesday night time in New York.

Third-seeded Connecticut misplaced all 4 video games between the groups within the common season, together with getting blown out twice in New York, however that didn’t matter to the Solar.

“It’s 0-0 in relation to playoffs. We didn’t take into consideration the common season,” Bonner mentioned. “It’s a brand new season.”

New York led by three at halftime earlier than Connecticut went on a 16-2 run to begin the third quarter. The Solar scored the primary 9 factors throughout the spurt and Natisha Hiedeman hit two 3-pointers.

The Liberty obtained inside 53-48, however Allen — who was traded from the Liberty within the offseason to the Solar as a part of the Jonquel Jones deal — hit her fourth 3-pointer of the sport.

Bonner made a pull-up jumper simply earlier than the top of the third quarter to increase Connecticut’s lead again to 10. She scored the primary 5 factors of the fourth to push it to 70-55 — the staff’s greatest lead of the sport to that time.

New York, which was led by Breanna Stewart‘s 19 factors, couldn’t get inside single digits the remainder of the way in which.

“They had been being aggressive. I don’t suppose we dealt with it nicely, we didn’t keep poised and composed,” Stewart mentioned. “Irritating to drop this one at house. We’ll bounce again Tuesday.”

Stewart had a tough sport, going 7 for 25 from the sphere, together with lacking all eight of her 3-point makes an attempt. Jones had 14 factors and 12 rebounds for New York — the fifteenth time that she’s had a double-double this season however the first time the Liberty misplaced in a kind of efforts.

New York, which averaged 89.2 factors throughout the common season, struggled with no fastbreak factors and shot 34% from the sphere. The Liberty had been outrebounded 35-30.

“That was the worst sport of the season,” coach Sandy Brondello mentioned. “We have now nice gamers and we’ll reply.”

The Liberty superior to the semifinals after sweeping Washington in a hard-fought first-round sequence, taking the clincher in extra time. Connecticut made it to its fifth straight semifinals by topping Minnesota in three video games.

Connecticut obtained off to a sizzling begin and led by 9 earlier than New York rallied and took a 40-37 lead on the half. Jones had 10 factors and Sabrina Ionescu 9 for the Liberty. Allen had 12 to steer Connecticut whereas Alyssa Thomas had six factors, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

Thomas completed the sport with eight factors, 10 assists and 7 rebounds.