Alyssa Thomas posted a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds and Jasmine Thomas added 19 points and eight assists to lift the host Connecticut Sun to an 84-75 victory against the Los Angeles Sparks in Game 1 of a best-of-five WNBA semifinal at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on Tuesday night.
Second-seeded Connecticut, which went 15-2 at home during the regular season to tie No. 3 Los Angeles for tops in the league, drew within two victories of its first finals appearance since 2005. Game 2 is set for Thursday at Connecticut.
Jonquel Jones scored 16 points and Courtney Williams added 15 as the Sun earned their first postseason victory since 2012. Both Jones and Williams grabbed seven rebounds, while Alyssa Thomas chipped in five assists and four steals.
Candace Parker scored a game-high 24 points and snagged 10 rebounds for Los Angeles, which also received a double-double from Nneka Ogwumike, who had 20 points and 10 boards.
Shekinna Stricklen drilled a pair of 3s to pace the Sun during a 12-2 run over the first 3:01 of the third quarter. The burst helped the Sun to a 49-42 lead, but the Sparks hardly faded during a contest that featured five ties and 11 lead changes.
Parker swished a trey with 10.5 seconds remaining in the third quarter to give the Sparks a 58-57 lead, but a Jasmine Thomas layup with 1.2 seconds to go in the quarter put the Sun ahead, 59-58. After the Sparks tied the game at 64-all with 6:47 to go, the Sun built separation with a 9-2 run over the next 2:47.
Connecticut responded from an early shooting funk — Alyssa Thomas started 4-for-5 from the floor while the rest of the team went 0-for-8 — to grab a 21-14 lead after 10 minutes. Jasmine Thomas drilled a trey from the left wing to beat the first-quarter buzzer.
The Sun extended their lead to 12 points when Jones hit a pair of free throws with 8:08 to go in the second quarter, but Los Angeles recovered after that. The Sparks scored 26 of the game’s next 37 points to take a 40-37 lead into the break.
—Field Level Media