Connecticut Sun closes in on Dallas Wings, ready to take another step in World Basketball Championship semifinals against Chicago Sky

Arlington, Texas – Just like New York Liberty the night before Dallas Suites On Wednesday, he had a chance to eliminate one of the top four seeded from the WNBA playoffs on their court. and like Chicago Sky against visiting New York Connecticut Sun We didn’t let that happen.

With Sun’s 73-58 win over the wings in Match 3 of the first round, the league’s semi-finals are official, and the top four seed will face off in their best of five series starting Sunday. Las Vegas will meet #1 at Seattle #4 (4pm EST), and another semi-final match will be a repeat last year, with second-place Chicago finishing third in Connecticut (8pm EST, ESPN2).

In 2021, The Sun had a WNBA best record, No. 1 seed and domestic court advantage against No. 6 ranked Sky. This year, it’s been somewhat the other way around: Chicago has the highest record (a tie with Las Vegas) and will have the highest on home soil in the semifinals. But it’s not as if the sun was off the lead; They finished on 11-25 to 10-26 Records of Aces and Heavens.

Last year, Chicago rode the underdogs all the way to the championship, having gone 16-16 in the regular season. There are no underdog teams left in the WNBA playoffs this year, although neither the Aces nor the Sun have ever won a WNBA Championship. Chicago first took the lead last year, and Seattle won four titles.

“Our team is incredibly confident in what they do and who they are,” Connecticut coach Kurt Miller said on Wednesday. “We’re back in the semi-finals for four years in a row. This group wants to take it one step further, and not one person is going to pick us to beat Chicago. So we’ll go with an underdog mentality and give it the best shot.”

Sky’s coach, James Wade, went into the playoffs, convinced no one thought his team could repeat it, so he and Miller might try to win the Underdog title. But in terms of recent history among these teams, the sky has dominated. They won the semifinals 3-1 last year and have won all four of their regular season encounters this year. These four games were decided by single-digit margins, two of them by three points.

The Sun would have preferred to shut down their first-round series in a Connecticut sweep and not make a trip to Texas for Game 3, but they got ahead on the road in a convincing fashion.

forward / guard Bonner’s office She won two WNBA titles while with Phoenix, and Miller said he believed she brought “championship pedigree” to Wednesday’s game, to edge Connecticut State by 21 points.

Bonner, who turned 35 on Sunday, gave the credit to the 24-year-old Sunguard. Dijonay Carrington for her tireless defense. The Sun kept Dallas with 24 points in the second half.

“Her defensive pressure was incredible,” Bonner said.

While The Sun is now moving into the familiar territory of the semifinals — they’ve lost in that round for the past two years after falling to the WNBA Finals in 2019 — the Wings have at least a playoff win to build on. Dallas’ 89-79 win on Sunday was the franchise’s first post-season since 2009, when the team was still in Detroit like a shock.

In 2010, Shock moved to Tulsa for six seasons and then moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to become the Wings in 2016. Coach Vicky Johnson, a longtime WNBA teammate and friend of Aces coach Becky Hammon, is in her second season with the wings and looks to the future.

The wings were without the first scorer and the All-Star goalkeeper twice Eric Ogunpoel Due to injury in most of August. Wednesday came back for a few minutes but didn’t score. Ogunbowale’s former Notre Dame teammate Marina Mabry He led the wing with 20 points, and Johnson said, he’s grown a lot as an all-around player in 2022.

Johnson said the fact that the wings went into the knockout stages and forced the Sun into a third game gives her team confidence in 2023.

“I think the most important thing they’ve learned is that they’re very good,” Johnson said. “I told them when Arik came out to just believe in themselves. Play together, play with energy and effort, and that’s what we did.”

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