The No. 3-seeded Connecticut Sun defeated the No. 6 Minnesota Lynx 90-75 in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Wednesday to advance to the semifinals. Here’s what you need to know:
- MVP candidate Alyssa Thomas led Connecticut with 28 points on 13-of-20 shooting from the field, along with 12 assists; veteran DeWanna Bonner added 25 points and 10 rebounds with three 3s.
- Lynx forward Napheesa Collier put up a game-high 31 points as Minnesota was held to 43.3 percent shooting; Connecticut shot 55.4 percent as a whole.
- The Sun are heading to their fifth straight WNBA semifinal round, where they will face the No. 2-seeded New York Liberty. The series begins Sept. 24.
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
Thomas, Bonner star to avoid upset
The Sun’s star duo of Thomas and Bonner set the tone early on in Game 3. They scored or assisted on all but one of Connecticut’s first-quarter baskets, and were aggressive defensively as well.
As the game progressed, Bonner was again a top perimeter option, making three 3-pointers. But unlike Game 2, the Sun also received a perimeter scoring boost off the bench as reserve guard Ty Harris scored 18 points, on four 3-pointers.
Still, everything for Connecticut keyed around Bonner and Thomas. Thomas set a playoff career high with 28 points, while also adding 12 assists and six rebounds. The 58 points she scored or assisted on were the most-ever in a playoff game in WNBA history. — Pickman
Collier does all she can, but McBride struggles
The Lynx’s star forward finished Wednesday night’s series-decider with a game-high 31 points. But through the first 38 minutes of the game, she was the lone Lynx player to score in double-figures.
Three-time All-Star Kayla McBride had finished with 28 points in Game 2, but shot just 3-of-12 from the field in Game 3, the third-lowest field goal percentage of her playoff career. McBride’s 3-pointer with 1:44 to play brought her into double-digits, but the game was largely decided by that point. — Pickman
Home court less important in Game 3s than expected
Since the WNBA changed its first-round playoff format at the start of the 2022 season, there have been three opening-round Game 3s. Each time, however, the road team has emerged victorious.
The three series-deciding first-round games (Connecticut-Dallas in 2022, Chicago-New York in 2022, and tonight’s game) feature separate contexts, but it seems fair to conclude that home-court advantage might be less important in, at least, a first-round deciding game than one might expect. — Pickman
Highlight of the game
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 21, 2023
Bonner, 36, surpassed 1,000 career playoff points during the game, becoming the fifth player in league history to do so.
(Photo: Ethan Miller / Getty Images)