Bone helps Sun stay in playoff hunt, Connecticut defeats Tulsa 80-74
The Connecticut Sun(12-10) defeated the Tulsa Shock (10-14) Wednesday night 80-74 at Mohegan Sun Arena. Connecticut increased its home winning streak to a season-high four games. The Shock are on a 10-game skid. Connecticut is now 8-1 against Western Conference teams this season.
Alex Bentley led her team with 25 points while Kelsey Bone finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, scoring in double-figures for the seventh straight game, while registering her fourth double-double of the season. Camille Little was also in double figures for Connecticut with 11 points.
The Sun were without rookie center Elizabeth Williams (knee). Connecticut also lost Alyssa Thomas, who hurt her right shoulder during the first quarter.
The Shock looked as if they were ready to earn a road win during the first half. They went into the break with a 48-41 lead. However, Connecticut made six of its first eight field-goal attempts in the second half to erase the halftime deficit and take a 56-54 lead on a basket by Kelsey Bone with 4:11 left in the third quarter. The Sun outscored the Shock 16-14 in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
All five of the Shock’s starters finished in double figures led by 15 points each from Odyssey Sims and Karima Christmas. Sims also contributed six assists. Riquna Williams scored 14 points and pulled down five rebounds. Courtney Paris had 10 points plus nine rebounds and Vicki Baugh added 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Sun host the New York Liberty on Friday. The Shock continue their road trip to New York to face the Liberty on Saturday.
- Kayla Pederson had a season-high eight rebounds off the bench for the Sun. Kelly Faris tied her season-high with four rebounds.
- Connecticut was 10-of-11 from the free throw line (90.9 percent). That is a season-high for the Sun.
- During the second half, Connecticut held the Shock to 28.1 percent (9 of 32) from the field. Tulsa’s starters were 7-of-27 (26 percent). In the first half, the Shock were 19 of 33 (57.6 percent) from the field and the Tulsa starters were 17 of 27 (63 percent).
Sun coach Anne Donovan
On her frustration with the teams play in the first half
“You are playing against very athletic, quick guards that can shoot the three and go off the dribble. When we changed our defensive scheme on how we were guarding the ball screen they were reluctant to come on board with the change. That was my frustration. Once we got on board with the change we were able to stop the penetration which was initially a problem for us.”
On the teams play in the second half
“I thought we were scrappier and more intense defensively. I am not saying we did not play hard in the first half but we did get after it more in the second half. Tulsa struggles to shoot the ball and in the first half they shot 57 percent, so we talked about that at half time. In the second half we held them to 27 percent. You saw a different level intensity and accountability in the second half.”
On the play of Kelsey Bone
“At Washington we had four points in the paint at half time, tonight we had 12. In Washington I got on Bone because I did not think she was working hard enough to get position down low. Tonight we weren’t looking for her, we had good match ups in the paint, but we got carried away offensively in our guard play. We discussed at half time making a concerted effort to get Kelsey the ball.”
Sun center Kelsey Bone
On the teams slow start in the first half
“Coach Donovan was frustrated with ball screen defense. Odyssey (Sims) had 14 first half points and we had a game plan that we were not executing. When we changed it to something different our execution was still poor, and Coach was frustrated with our play. We had to figure out as a group how to correct that and we did that in the second half.”
On the team’s resilience
“I think a lot of times when our game plan does not go the way it is supposed to, we tend to falter in other categories and in other places on the floor. For us we did a very good in the second half of coming out more focused and stuck to our game plan, which was able to help us in other places on the court.”
Sun guard Alex Bentley
On the team’s play in the first half
“She (Coach Donovan) got on us about our defense. We have to stick to our defensive principles and make sure we execute the schemes the coaches have drawn up for us. We just were not getting it done in the first half.”
On Kelsey Bone’s match up with Courtney Paris
“They are a good match up. Bone handled it very well. She got in there, she banged with her, she got boards, and she got put backs. Bone ultimately got her shot opportunities and took care of business for us tonight.”
Tulsa coach Fred Williams
On their great first half which saw them lead by as many as ten
“It was on the level of what we wanted to do. In the first half we shot well, a high percentage, but Connecticut shot 8-for-17 from three and kept them in the game.”
On the quick start by (Odyssey) Sims for them
“She is a player who is not 100 percent for us, she is about 90-95 percent and it was nice to see her come out and get us in our offense and execute our offense. I look for her to penetrate and score and she did that in the first half. In the second half, they kind of doubled up on her and took the ball away from her and made some of our other players make plays.”
On what he can take from the good first half by his team
“I thought we played hard all the way through down to the last minute of the game and we had some opportunities. Our team has no quit in them and we have a lot of grind and grit to get out there and play hard. We didn’t have (Plenette) Pierson tonight and the injury bug has hit us. She rolled her ankle yesterday and we have to get her healthy for the next few games.”
Tulsa guard Odyssey Sims
On what they did well in the first half
“We just came out, played hard and everything was just going well.”
On what the difference was in the second half
“It was just a game of runs. They made their run and we just kind of slowed down a little bit.”
Tulsa center Courtney Paris
On what went right in the first half
“We played hard and together. We made shots and got to the free throw line and things like that so it was working out for us.”
On what was different in the second half
“We struggled to finish and it showed on our defense. We didn’t make stops, they were knocking down shots and they were doing what they wanted and we were not able to stop them defensively.”
On the frustration of being up 10, yet dropping their 10th straight game
“Right now it’s frustrating, but by the same token we had a big start in the beginning. We have struggled here in the middle of the season, but we still are in the mix of things and we still have 10 games left. If the playoffs were today, we would be in, so we just have to finish strong and kind of forget what happened, keep moving on and hopefully finish off these close games with wins.”
By the Numbers
Points in the Paint: Shock 42, Sun 26
Second Chance Points: Shock 8, Sun 8
Fastbreak Points: Shock 7, Sun 9
Biggest Lead: Shock 10, Sun 8
Lead Changes: 7
Times Tied: 7