UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Jasmine Thomas paced five double-figure scorers for the Connecticut Sun while earning a wire-to-wire 89-73 victory over the Indiana Fever, Sunday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Indiana lost its fourth straight game while East-leading Connecticut won for the eighth time in ten games and captured the season series between the clubs, 2-to-1.
Connecticut used a 9-0 first-quarter run for an early 16-4 lead, and never looked back. Six different players contributed to Indiana’s scoring in the first quarter but the rout was already in motion with the Sun leading 29-13.
The Fever limited the carnage in the second quarter, trailing just 18-15 in the period, but the Sun scored the first 12 points of the third quarter to lift the gap to 31 points, 59-28, on a bucket by Jonquel Jones. Ben Davis High School product Alex Bentley hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to 34. The Sun’s lead reached 38, Indiana’s largest deficit of the season, on Brionna Jones’ free throws with 58 seconds left in the third.
“[The Sun] are a good team. They were playing at home and they got a rhythm going,” said Fever coach Pokey Chatman. “We made things really easy for them at first, and in this league you can’t let that happen.”
Chatman continued, “I just said they’re a good team, and I meant that. But we also gave them 18 turnovers and 23 points. They don’t need that much help. We dug a 12-foot hole and only had a 7-foot ladder. We dug a hole too deep.”
Jonquel Jones and Alyssa Thomas each added 14 points for Connecticut, with Bentley scoring 11 and Courtney Williams adding 10. Jones also added 13 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season.
With Indiana playing without All-Star forward and scoring leader Candice Dupree due to personal reasons, Connecticut smothered the Fever and put the game out of reach, 80-45, heading to the fourth period. Through three quarters, the Sun shot 50 percent from the field compared to just 33 for Indiana. Connecticut committed just six turnovers compared to 17 for Indiana, and the Sun owned a decided rebound advantage, 29-21.
“Dupree is an All-Star,” Chatman continued. “She is a calming presence and she makes a difference. She makes good reads, she gets herself in the right position and she makes good passes. But we have to remember that we do have players that can do those things, too. She is such a consistent player, just her presence helps us.”
Indiana outscored mostly Sun reserves 28-9 in the fourth period. A jumper by Briann January brought the Connecticut lead under 20 points, 84-66, with less than four minutes to play, bringing Connecticut starters back onto the floor.
Erica Wheeler and Jazmon Gwathmey led the Fever with 13 points. Jennifer Hamson scored 11 and Tiffany Mitchell contributed 10. Rookie Erica McCall made her first career start, replacing Dupree in the starting lineup and finishing with four points and a team- and career-high nine boards.
Nine-year veteran Marissa Coleman collected the 2,000th point of her career on a pair of free throws with 3:40 left in the first half, but did not score again.
Indiana returns to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday, Aug. 4 to host the Chicago Sky on Breast Health Awareness Night at 7:00 p.m.