Jonquel Jones scored 14 points, Brionna Jones had 13 points and the Connecticut Sun used a decisive third quarter to beat the visiting Phoenix Mercury 77-64 on Thursday night at Uncasville, Conn., completing a two-game sweep this week.
The game took place hours after Mercury center Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison on drug charges. The players from both teams locked arms pregame as a 42-second moment of silence was held, with the 42 representing Griner’s Phoenix uniform number.
Courtney Williams added 11 points as the Sun (22-10) won for the sixth time in seven games. Seven players notched eight or more points in Thursday night’s balanced offense. DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas both had nine points.
The Mercury were without veteran guard Diana Taurasi, who was out with a quad ailment. She played sparingly two nights earlier and there was the added disappointment of missing a game in the state where she once starred at UConn.
Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 16 points, Diamond DeShields netted 14, Shey Peddy had 13 and Sophie Cunningham added 10 to pace the Mercury (13-19), who were playing their final road game of the season.
This was a closely contested game for the first 2 1/2 quarters after the Sun won in an 87-63 romp Tuesday night on the same court.
The Sun went nearly four minutes without scoring in the third quarter, but then broke a 53-53 tie with a 7-0 run to end the quarter. Following Peddy’s 3-pointer, Phoenix went the last 6:47 of the quarter without a field goal and managed only eight points in the period.
The margin grew when Connecticut posted the first 11 points of the fourth quarter as the Mercury’s drought without a field goal lasted a combined 11:52. By the time Cunningham sank a 3-pointer with 4:55 remaining, it only pulled Phoenix to within 73-58.
The Mercury clearly played with a sense of urgency without Taurasi available. DeShields, who missed the past five games, racked up 14 first-half points and Diggins-Smith scored 13.
Phoenix made seven of 15 shots from 3-point range in the first half to compensate for a 23-15 rebounding gap in Connecticut’s favor.
Thomas, who was coming off the second triple-double in franchise history in the teams’ first meeting this week, collected team highs of 13 rebounds and six assists Thursday night.
–Field Level Media