Cece Hampton ’24
On Wednesday, Sept. 20, the Connecticut Sun defeated the Minnesota Lynx 90-75, advancing to the playoff semi-finals for the fifth consecutive time. Sun forward Alyssa Thomas and point guard DeWanna Bonner carried the game, with Thomas tying a career high of 28 points, and Bonner scoring 25 points and making 10 rebounds. In this game, Bonner became the third player in WNBA playoff history to have 1,000 points and 500 rebounds, sharing the achievement with Candace Parker and Tamika Catchings. Earlier this season when the Sun played the Lynx, Thomas became the first WNBA player to achieve back-to-back triple doubles, recording a 20-20- 10 stat line. It was Thomas’ fifth triple double of the season, and the ninth in her career. Although the Sun lost to the Lynx in their previous game against them on Sunday, Thomas still proved her strengths and immense value to the team, making 17 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. As of 2023, Thomas is the ninth highest paid athlete in the WNBA. Point guard Tyasha Harris made 17 points off the bench on Sunday, and 18 on Wednesday, propelling the Sun ahead in game play both nights.
To qualify for the WNBA playoffs, a team must have one of the top eight highest winning percentages, regardless of conference. All four top seeded teams this year advanced to the final four playoffs, with the reigning WNBA playoff champions the Aces seeded at No. 1, Liberty at No. 2, Sun at No. 3 and Wings at No. 4. The Aces hosted the Wings on Sunday at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, with the Aces winning 97-83. After losing all four regular season games against the New York Liberty this season, the Sun won on Sunday, Sept. 24 78-63 at the Barclays Stadium in Brooklyn, New York. Within this game, the Sun took on previous Sun superstar Jonquel Jones, who requested a trade from the franchise in the 2023 offseason, but is now playing for the Liberty. Without Jones this season, the Sun was expected to plunge to the bottom of the league standings, but MVP Alyssa Thomas has kept the Sun on top, helping them to finish this season 27-13, the third best record in the WNBA.
The playoffs will continue in the best of five series this week, with game two on Tuesday night, and game three on Friday. Game three could potentially be the last game of the series if a team sweeps. The question remains over how the Sun will continue to fare against the Liberty, and whether they squash the potential for a historic matchup between the top teams in the league, or power through and earn a rematch of the 2022 WNBA Finals, when the Sun took on the Aces. It can only be revealed as these four teams continue to battle it out this week, and the two victors will play game one of the final series on Sunday, Oct. 8.