New York: Alyssa Thomas racked up 19 points and DeWanna Bonner collected 17 points and 13 rebounds as the Connecticut Sun upset the Los Angeles Sparks 73-59 in a single-elimination, second-round game of the WNBA playoffs Thursday night at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
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The seventh-seeded Sun move on to meet the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces in Sunday’s Game 1 of the semifinals, which are a best-of-five series.
All five Connecticut starters scored in double figures, with Briann January tacking on 11 points while Brionna Jones and Jasmine Thomas, who had six assists, both notched 10 points. Alyssa Thomas and Bonner each supplied five assists.
Candace Parker poured in 22 points to go with 14 rebounds and five assists while reserve Seimone Augustus had 10 points for the Sparks, who were charged with 14 turnovers compared to just eight for the Sun.
Los Angeles swept both meetings with the Sun in the regular season. However, Sparks guard Chelsea Gray, who was a key contributor in those victories, was held to four points (2-for-9 shooting) without an assist in the playoff matchup.
The third-seeded Sparks were without starting forward Nneka Ogwumike, who sat out due to illness. The Sun eliminated the Sparks for the second year in a row.
Los Angeles missed its first 12 shots from 3-point range and ended up 2-for-18 on 3s. The Sparks were down by 19 points after Bonner converted a three-point play. After that, Parker connected from deep for the team’s first 3, coming late in the third quarter.
The Sun led 39-23 at halftime, going 6-for-11 from 3-point range in the opening half. Connecticut, which had only two points for most of the game’s first four minutes, produced 13 assists on 15 first-half baskets.
The Sparks were held to a season-low point total for a half, in part because of 8-for-30 shooting from the field.
Connecticut finished 10-for-10 on free throws.
The Sun advanced to the second round by defeating the Chicago Sky in Tuesday night’s first round. Los Angeles had a bye into the second round.