Alex Bentley’s career-high 31 points helps Sun trump Mystics, 86-72
UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Alex Bentley scored a career-high 31 points, including ten in the first quarter and eleven in the fourth quarter, to lead the Connecticut Sun (11-9) past the Washington Mystics,86-72, Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. With the win, the Sun kept pace with the Indiana Fever in the race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern conference, only a half-game behind the Fever. Since the Mystics (12-8) and Chicago Sky lost on Friday, the Sun is only one game out of second place.
Bentley became the ninth player in Connecticut Sun history to score 30 or more points in a game. She also added six assists and three steals. The timing could not be better for the Sun, as Bentley struggled after being sick in the three games since the All-Star game.
“Alex is back to her usual self,” said Sun coach Anne Donovan. “She is aggressive, getting it from the perimeter, driving off the dribble, and getting to the paint.”
Connecticut opened the game with a 13-3 run, with all 13 coming from the backcourt of Bentley (five) and Jasmine Thomas (eight). Washington continued to hang around and eat into the lead, finally tying the game at 62 after a flagrant foul call on Alyssa Thomas and subsequent basket by Latoya Sanders.
From there the youthful Sun’s maturity showed. Bentley hit a three pointer, Jasmine Thomas a layup, Shekinna Sticklen hit another three, and it was quickly a 70-62 lead the Sun never relinquished.
“At some point you just have to stop the bleeding,” said Bentley of her key three-pointer that started the run. “They left me open, so I just took the shot.”
In addition to Bentley’s 31, Jasmine Thomas scored 15 and dished out eight assists, Stricklen scored 11 including the 1,000th point of her career, and Kelsey Bone contributed ten points and nine rebounds. The Sun shot 53 percent as a team, 56 percent from three-point range.
Emma Meesseman led the Mystics with 15 points, but was the only Washington player in double figures. Meesseman hit 7-of-12 shots, but the rest of the team only made 18-of-48, 38 percent.
Washington coach Mike Thibault was disappointed with his team’s defensive performance.
“They got full court drives, they got offensive boards, we missed some easy shots,” said Thibault. “It was just a series of those type of plays. Give them credit, they shot the hell out of it tonight, but with our defensive scheme Bentley certainly shouldn’t have gotten 31 tonight.”
The Mystics can even the score on Sunday when the Sun travel to Washington to play them again.
- Alex Bentley also set a new career-high for steals in a season. She had three more tonight and now has 47 on the season. She also tied a season-high with six assists.
- Jasmine Thomas tied a career-high with 3 three-pointers and scored in double figures for the first time in 11 games as she finished with 15 points. She also tied her career-high with eight assists
- With the win, the Sun defeated an Eastern Conference opponent for the first time since June 14th against Atlanta.
By the Numbers
Points in the Paint: Mystics 32, Sun 40
Second Chance Points: Mystics 6, Sun 4
Fastbreak Points: Mystics 7, Sun 14
Biggest Lead: Mystics 0, Sun 15
Lead Changes: 0
Times Tied: 1