Wednesday Addams

Chicago Sky, the WNBA champion, are defeated by Connecticut Sun in Game 5

With 66 points scored in the paint, Connecticut broke the previous playoff record set by the WNBA, after shooting 38% from the field in Game 3.

Sun coach Curt Miller praised his team’s “big response” and the “opening group” for “really setting the tone early with the aggressiveness at both ends of the court.” That was an outstanding performance of points in the paint, and I guess so much for messy; that wasn’t messy. We’ve talked the entire time about how this is going to be a points-in-the-paint series for us.

“Our guys have incredible heart and are determined to perform to the best of their abilities. They’re done for the evening. Simply heart, effort, and unwavering concentration the entire game.

The Sun led by as many as 27 points after jumping out to a 16-point lead early in the first quarter, which was their largest lead in the series to that point. Although the Sky closed the gap to seven points in the second quarter, Connecticut used a late run that was capped by a steal and score from DiJonai Carrington to lead by 58-41 at the half.

We were playing catch-up, which caused us to get a little bit dispersed, according to Sky coach James Wade, because we couldn’t match what they delivered early on.

The crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena and the Sun’s bench were further enthused by buzzer-beaters at the end of the first half and third quarter, which gave the Sun the advantage for the majority of the game.

“When you’re in the playoffs, you may sometimes become really tense. The Sun’s Courtney Williams said, “But we play our best basketball when we’re having fun, leaping around, and encouraging each other. You just get outside of yourself because it’s a different type of urgency. We play our best basketball then, and I believe you witnessed that tonight.

After Miller had been requesting more effective play from his guards throughout the series, DeWanna Bonner (7 for 13 shooting) and Williams (9 for 14) stepped up big with 19 points each, with Williams scoring a 2022 postseason high. Connecticut’s offense looked as strong as it has all season, with six of its players (including three starters) finishing in double figures and its off-ball movement looking as smooth as ever.

Miller added that Williams’ off-ball movement “really set the tone” for the game. “We spoke about what’s the balance, is there activity on the backside in how much they’re trying to congest the paint, and that movement really benefited us tonight,” Miller said.

Too many details that we overlooked, said Chicago’s Allie Quigley in relation to the team’s defensive issues. We weren’t carrying out our duties as required. There were far too many occasions when we simply weren’t present or prepared. Simply put, we were unfocused.

The Sky have performed admirably in elimination games this season, surviving two against the New York Liberty in the first round to get to the semifinals, but they’ll need to play with more defensive vigor and offensive execution to win at home on Thursday.

Quigley said, “We’re going to be more focused on the details and just have more energy than them. [We need to] stick together and just have that mentality that we’re not going to lose, we’re going to do everything we can to win.”

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