Kelsey Bone dominates the paint as Sun roll over Stars, 82-51; Donovan wins 200th
UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Kelsey Bone scored 17 points and pulled down ten rebounds as the Connecticut Sun (10-9) dominated the paint, and the defense held their opponent to a season low 51 points, handily defeating the San Antonio Stars 82-51 at Mohegan Sun Arena Tuesday night.
Connecticut took charge of the lane from the outset, outscoring San Antonio 16-6 inside in the first quarter, on their way to a 46-26 margin for the game. San Antonio (6-15) had one offensive rebound, in the fourth quarter, for the entire game, as the Sun outscored the Stars on second-chance points 17-0.
“After the way we played against Indiana, giving up the lead, getting demolished on the boards, and not finishing, we wanted to come here and win a home game,” said Bone. “We know how important each game is the rest of the way this season and we cannot keep giving away wins.”
After a strong first quarter with a 25-18 lead, Connecticut and San Antonio played the second quarter even (12-12), and the Sun held only a seven-point lead at the break. However, the Sun dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Stars 18-6 and never looked back.
Sun coach Anne Donovan raved about the defensive intensity of her team, saying “we were engaged tonight defensively from beginning to end. Every player that stepped on the floor understood defense was a big part of our win tonight.”
The game was Donovan’s 200th career victory, one of the rare blowout variety. She became the fourth coach in league history (Van Chancellor, Mike Thibault and Dan Hughes) to reach that milestone, and the first woman.
“We have had so many close games this year and we have won a lot of them and lost a few of them,” Donovan said, “but we have not had a comfortable win like this since I have been the coach. So yes, it felt good tonight.”
On the front end of a back-to-back (San Antonio plays at Washington tonight), coach Dan Hughes was disappointed in his team’s performance, but said the Sun just outplayed his team.
“We didn’t play well, but give Connecticut credit,” said Hughes. “I thought they were very physical and I thought in the second quarter we had a chance to roll back in, but in the third quarter they just took it away from us. They were quicker to balls, they physically battled better than we did and we didn’t respond.”
Bone also contributed a career-high six assists, while Chelsea Gray has a career-high seven. Connecticut dished out a season-high 24 assists on 36 baskets, and every player in a Sun uniform scored.
San Antonio was led by Jia Perkins with 15 points and Sophia Young-Malcolm with ten. Jayne Appel hauled down a season-high eleven rebounds as well. However, the All-Star combination of Danielle Robinson and Kayla McBride was held to eight points, on 4-for-12 shooting, and committed five turnovers.
Danielle Adams returned from her three-game suspension for a failed drug test, but did not play. Hughes after the game said it was his decision, and she will play, “just not tonight.”
Hughes, one of the other coaches to reach 200 wins in his career, complimented Donovan on her achievement, but joked he wished it would have been against someone other than his team.
“When you are going through it, it’s a number, but the reality is that it shows longevity and as you get older, and I am so I can say that, it means something,” Hughes said. “When you are able to exist in a league like us long enough where you play 34 games a year and you win 200 somewhere in the back of your mind that is a positive mark that you can have longevity in a competitive league. She has been with several franchises, like me. She has found a way to exist and coaching in the WNBA is not for the mild and timid. It beats you around pretty good, 200 wins, congratulations to her.”
By the Numbers
Points in the Paint: Stars 26, Sun 46
Second Chance Points: Stars 0, Sun 17
Fastbreak Points: Stars 8, Sun 4
Biggest Lead: Stars 2, Sun 33
Lead Changes: 2
Times Tied: 2