WNBA: Connecticut in Alyssa Thomas’ return, the Sun defeated the New York Liberty

Source: Skysports

The Connecticut Sun had already clinched the top seed and a first-round bye, but that didn’t stop them from rallying from a halftime deficit against the New York Liberty to win their 13th straight game and set a new franchise record in Alyssa Thomas’ first WNBA game in 351 days.

The league-leading Connecticut Sun utilised a strong third quarter to come back over the visiting New York Liberty 98-69 for their league-best 13th straight win. Jonquel Jones had 18 points and 13 rebounds, while DeWanna Bonner had 18 points and 13 boards.

It’s also a new franchise record for the squad, eclipsing their previous best of 12 straight wins established in 2006.

New York, which needed a win at Uncasville, Connecticut, to stay in the playoff race, surged out to a 47-44 lead at halftime after leading 20-14 after one quarter.

Briann January’s three-pointer with 6:42 remaining put the Sun ahead for good at 55-54. Connecticut went on a 25-6 run to conclude the third quarter and outscored the visitors 33-13 to put the game out of reach. After halftime, the Sun had a 54-22 lead over the Liberty.

Brionna Jones had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Sun, DiJonai Carrington had 14 points and 14 rebounds, Natisha Hiedeman had 11 points and five assists, and Jasmine Thomas had 10 points.

After missing the first 30 games of the season due to surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, Alyssa Thomas scored six points in 17 minutes off the bench in her season debut for the Sun. In January, the two-time WNBA All-Star forward suffered an injury while playing for USK Praha in the Czech Republic.

Thomas, 29, last played in a WNBA game on September 29, 2020, when the Sun lost Game 5 of their semi-final series to Las Vegas.

After a 76-67 win over Phoenix on Saturday, Connecticut (25-6) won the top overall seed and a first-round bye in the WNBA playoffs.

New York was led by Natasha Howard, who had a game-high 25 points. The Liberty, who committed 28 turnovers on route to their eighth straight loss, were led by Michaela Onyenwere’s 14 points and Sabrina Ionescu’s 12.

New York (11-20) now has a one-game lead over Washington (12-18) for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Liberty trail the Los Angeles Sparks (11-19), who was also on the bench on Wednesday night.

On Friday night, the Liberty will play the Mystics to round out the regular season. On Sunday, at 6 p.m., Connecticut hosts the Atlanta Dream in its regular-season finale.

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