Game Recap: Fever 89, Sun 101

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Chiney Ogwumike and Jonquel Jones each scored 21 points, combining to shoot 14-of-20 from the floor while pacing the Connecticut Sun to a 101-89 victory Wednesday night over the Indiana Fever.

Indiana lost its fourth straight game and its 14th in 15 games while Connecticut, the WNBA’s top scoring team, topped 100 points for the fourth time to beat Indiana for the second time in three nights. The Sun completed a three-game sweep of the Fever in 2018, beating Indiana at Mohegan Sun Arena for the fifth straight time.

The Sun led early and, but for 14 unanswered points by Indiana to draw within 72-62 late in the third, rarely looked back.

“We’re not going to outscore a lot of people,” said Fever coach Pokey Chatman. “But we need to have a little more pride in our effort and we need to start with more intensity.”

Connecticut’s wire-to-wire victory began with a 9-0 start on the game’s first three possessions with Jasmine Thomas converting a three-point play and Shekinna Stricklen canning a pair of 3-pointers. Free throws by Ogwumike staked the Sun to an 11-0 lead and, after Victoria Vivians’ 3-pointer put the Fever on the board, Connecticut rode the hot hand of Jones, its 6-6 center, to blitz the visitors with a 30-14 first-quarter margin. Two of Jones’ three 3-pointers in the period keyed a 14-4 run to close the session.

The Sun made use of a season-high 13 3-pointers which matched an opponent record against the Fever.

Uncharacteristically scoreless in a win at Indiana last Sunday and without a 3-pointer in four games, Jones matched a career-high with five in six attempts overall. Stricklen finished with a season-high four 3-pointers in six attempts, for 12 points. Courtney Williams added 13 points for the Sun and Jasmine contributed 10 as all five starters reached double figures.

Leading 52-36 at intermission, Connecticut’s onslaught continued in the third, doubling the Fever in five minutes after the break, outscoring Indiana 20-10 and producing a 72-48 margin to represent Indiana’s largest deficit of the season.

Scoring from five different Indiana players led a mini-comeback to pull within 10 with 1:29 left in the third, but the Fever never got closer.

Added Chatman, “We have to focus and we have to fight. It’s ok when you fight to come back, but we have to fight for 40 [minutes]. It’s about fight and it’s about focus.”

Indiana’s rookie duo of Victoria Vivians and Kelsey Mitchell provided 40 of the Fever’s 89 points. Vivians poured in career highs of 25 points and five 3-pointers. Mitchell added 15 points including three 3-pointers, and Candice Dupree pitched in 14 points. The Vivians-Mitchell tandem combined for eight 3-pointers, matching the most by any rookie duo in the WNBA since 2009, and equaling their own feat of June 16 vs. Atlanta.

Indiana got nine 3-pointers overall to fuel a season-best 46-percent shooting effort. But the high-scoring Sun used a 32-29 rebounding edge and 56 percent sharpshooting to maintain their double-digit margin.

The Fever return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday to entertain the Phoenix Mercury (7:00 p.m.).


Indiana Fever at Connecticut Sun
It was a big night against Connecticut for Victoria Vivians. The rookie guard dropped in a season-high 25 points, shooting 5-of-8 beyond the arc.
Kelsey Mitchell continued her strong rookie season on Wednesday night, dropping in 15 points while shooting 3 out of 6 behind the arc.
Candice Dupree put on a solid display on Thursday night vs. the Sun. The six-time All-Star put up 14 points and pulled down five boards in an eventual loss.