Connecticut Shoots Past Indiana, 76-63
Jonquel Jones scored a season-high 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting. Jones' two highest-scoring totals of the season have come against the Fever. She scored a career-high 29 points at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in 2017.
Connecticut's Jonquel Jones made a 3-pointer on the Sun's first possession of the game and neither team connected from deep the rest of the first half. The Sun were 1-for-9 and the Fever went 0-for-8 from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes. Connecticut then hit six of its seven 3-point attempts in the third quarter and was 9-of-13 beyond the arc in the second half.
After Natalie Achonwa's free throw cut the Sun's lead to 42-39 at the 5:37 mark of the third quarter, Connecticut scored 20 of the next 22 points. The Sun were up 62-43 heading into the final 10 minutes.
The Sun used an 11-2 run midway through the second quarter to build a 33-22 advantage. Connecticut maintained that lead for the rest of the period and was up 39-30 at halftime.
Candice Dupree's jumper with 2:45 remaining in the second quarter moved her past Lisa Leslie (6,263) for sixth place on the WNBA all-time scoring list. Dupree finished the game with 11 points and 6,267 for her career.
Erica Wheeler's second assist of the game gave her 500 for her WNBA career. Wheeler is the fifth undrafted player in league history to record 1,000 points and 500 assists in a career.
Betnijah Laney's four assists were a new career high. She also tied her career best of four steals.
Laney pulled down at least five rebounds for the seventh time in eight games. She added 11 points, her second-highest total of the season.
Kelsey Mitchell led the Fever with 14 points. Mitchell's paced the team in scoring on seven different occasions this season.
Betnijah Laney, Candice Dupree and Natalie Achonwa all contributed 11 points. Laney and Dupree tied for the team lead in assists and Achonwa grabbed seven rebounds.
Indiana's 17 made free throws were the team's most since it made 20 against Dallas on June 7. Tiffany Mitchell (6-of-6) and Natalie Achonwa (7-of-7) were a perfect 13-of-13.
Indiana finished the game 0-of-16 from behind the arc. It was the most misses without a made 3-pointer in franchise history and the fourth time ever the Fever failed to hit a 3-pointer.
After two home wins to begin the season, this was Indiana's seventh straight loss at home. The Fever are 1-7 in their last eight games overall.
Jonquel Jones (26 points), Jasmine Thomas (14 points) and Shekinna Stricklen (12 points) accounted for 52 of Connecticut's 76 points. Jones posted at least 11 points and eight rebounds for the third game in a row.
The Sun won the points in the paint battle 32-22. It was the seventh game in a row Connecticut scored more points in the paint than its opponent.
Shekinna Stricklen had 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-8 from behind the arc. It was her sixth game this season with at least four made 3-pointers.
Jasmine Thomas finished the game with 14 points, her 11th game in double-figures this season and the fourth in a row.
Morgan Tuck tied her season-high with eight points, set against Washington in the season-opener on May 25.
The Sun have won seven straight games against the Fever. Connecticut leads the all-time series 43-29.
Head Coach Pokey Chatman
"I told our team I thought allowing just 76 points should be enough for a win in this league. We have been hammering all week about transition defense. We got some steals and I thought we were doing a good job on that end, but we did not take advantage on the offensive end."
"We were 0-fer from 3. That's tough. We are a really good mid-range team and sometimes I think we should take more of those shots instead of taking contested 3s."
(on Jonquel Jones)
"JJ's a tough matchup for any post player in this league. You have to take her away from her comfort shots, but she can beat you in so many ways, that's a tall order. She's a tremendous player."
(on Candice Dupree)
"I feel like every 3-4 games she's setting another record or reaching another milestone. That speaks to her career. She plays at such a level of consistency in all facets of the game. We are so lucky to have her on our team."
"We just have these rollercoaster rides. We played at a high level, containing them, and then we have these lulls where we just don't convert offensively and then we allow our opponents to score. [Jonquel Jones], we contained her for a bit, bits and pieces and then she kind of started making shots. So, it's always tough to try to contain it."
(What was Coach Chatman's game plan for tonight?)
"Compete. Play it at a high level and then just make them take tough shots. And down the stretch we didn't do that. We really didn't make them take tough shots."
(Did the Sun's dribble penetration bother Indiana a little bit?)
"It did. More in the second half than the first. [They were 1-for-9] from three in the first half. But the second half, we just have to do a better job making reads defensively. Can't over-help knowing you're guarding a knock-down shooter in the corner. So, we gotta clean it up, be a little closer on the ball screens, eliminate the dribble penetration."
(On the effect on the offense when the team is 0-for-16 from 3-point range)
"If you're not hitting shots, they're packing the lane, so it makes it a little more difficult to get to the basket. But normally we do a pretty good job shooting two-pointers. There were times we were passing up shots and out of that it was either turnover, block shot, bad shot. So I mean, we just gotta be ready. Recognize when you're open, recognize when you're not."
Head Coach Curt Miller
"I thought we had a good defensive game tonight. We held them under 40 percent shooting. Really congested...A team that's hard to keep out of the paint. In the first half, did a really nice job of keeping them out of the paint. On the other hand, we got into the paint in the first half and I think that opened it up for us in the second half and allowed us to use our legs and make nine threes in the second half, because we were so successful getting in the paint. That's not easy to do: three games in five days on the road to make nine threes in the second half. But good performance. Got a little shaky there in the fourth quarter and probably didn't need to go back with the starters but knew how important this game was."
"We just wanted to come out strong. We knew that we had three games in five days and it was going to be tough because it was a different location. So we wanted to come out with good energy and make sure that we're doing the little things in order to get a win."
(What was coach's speech at halftime?)
"Just to come out and have a strong second half. You know sometimes we lag a little bit starting the game and in the second half as well. So we wanted to come out there and punch them in the mouth a little bit."
"It's a road win. The last time we were on the road we had a very tough time. So we just focused that energy, that preparation into getting a win here."
(On the difference between the first and second half)
"In the first half we had a strong emphasis on getting in the paint. We know that they're a tough team, got great players, they're great defensively, got some people that can really get in lanes and get steals. So we wanted to just put the pressure on them and get in the paint. And then in the second half we were able to score a little bit outside. I think we had nine threes, not as many field goals, but we were able to knock it down from outside."
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Women's National Basketball Association Stories from July 14, 2019
- Liberty Rally Late, Fall Short to Seattle, 69-78 - New York Liberty
- Connecticut Shoots Past Indiana, 76-63 - Indiana Fever
- Short-Handed Sparks Grind out Overtime Win against Atlanta - Los Angeles Sparks
- Lynx Waive Center Alaina Coates - Minnesota Lynx
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