• 50°

Sun beats Mystics, forces Game 5 in WNBA Finals

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Alyssa Thomas had 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds to help the Connecticut Sun stave off elimination and force a decisive Game 5 of the WNBA Finals with a 90-86 win over the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night.

The title will be decided Thursday night in Washington with a first-time champion crowned. Thomas fell just short of the first triple-double in Finals history.

Jonquel Jones had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Sun.

Connecticut blew a 16-point halftime lead as Washington used a huge third quarter to tie the game at 68. The Mystics kept it going to start the fourth, opening up a five-point lead. With their season on the line, the Sun responded.

Jasmine Thomas hit a 3-pointer to put the Sun ahead 84-81. The lead was short-lived as Emma Meesseman answered with a 3 from the wing to tie the game again.

Shekinna Stricklen, the league’s 3-point champion at the All-Star Game, then shook off a defender before making another 3 to give the Sun an 87-84 advantage with 2:22 left. Natasha Cloud made a layup a few seconds later to get the Mystics within one.

That’s as close as they got as both teams missed open looks in the final 2 minutes. Aerial Powers, who led Washington with 15 points, missed an open 3-pointer in the corner with 27.5 seconds left that would have given Washington the lead.

“Both teams were making big shots. We’d make a 3, they’d answer with a 3,” Sun coach Curt Miller said. “Ultimately we made a few more plays down the stretch. We got to the line down the stretch. Alyssa Thomas was best foul shooter in the game.”

Connecticut got the rebound and Jasmine Thomas sank two free throws with 18.4 seconds left to make it a three-point game.

After a timeout, Cloud drove to the basket but missed the shot and Alyssa Thomas corralled the rebound and hit the first of two free throws to seal the win.

Elena Delle Donne, who left Game 2 with back spasms that an MRI later showed resulted from a herniated disk, was able to play more Tuesday night than in Game 3, when she was limited to 26 minutes. The league MVP had 11 points and five rebounds while playing 30 minutes.

“I was a little looser today, so felt better. Hopefully continue to progress and feel better Thursday,” Delle Donne said. “They were playing more aggressive defensively. They weren’t letting us sit outside and shoot 3s.”

Having a chance to win the title at home on Thursday gave the Mystics some confidence.

“That’s what we worked for this whole season,” Delle Donne said. “Can’t rely on being home to get it done. The way we came out and started the game dug us into a huge hole. They are a great team, and you give that type of lead to them, makes thing difficult.”

UP NEXT

Game 5 is Thursday night in Washington.

___

Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at https://twitter.com/dougfeinberg

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-Sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Comments

Education

‘Better chance of succeeding’: Moody, colleagues reflect on tenure, retirement

News

Collecting garbage: Locals work to beautify High Rock Lake during Clean Sweep

Coronavirus

Salisbury man grateful parents’ story has impacted many

News

Celtics take big lead and hold on to top Heat 117-106

Business

Downtown Salisbury ‘moving swiftly’ with developers interested in Empire Hotel

Business

From fantasy to fact, Cherry builds a Hobbit House at his Treesort

Business

Biz Roundup: CSP seeking to hire 100 new employees for plant expansion

Coronavirus

Police, sheriff focus on education in addressing mask-wearing complaints

Education

Candidates for East Area school board seat have widely different views on renewal

Kannapolis

Cannon Mills’ whistle sounds again, brings nostalgia with it

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Outbreak at jail annex over; new cases emerge at Kannapolis facility

Elections

In Senate race, Tillis calibrates ties to Trump

News

5 Charlotte officers recommended for dismissal after death in custody

Elections

Trump, Biden hit unlikely battleground state of Minnesota

College

Maui Invitational moving to Asheville during pandemic

News

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 19

Coronavirus

Kannapolis brewery linked to eight COVID-19 positives

Elections

Local Democrats call to ‘turn the state blue’ during virtual office reopening

Education

Funding flat, enrollment down slightly for Rowan-Salisbury Schools

Education

Catawba gets high marks in U.S. News and World rankings for fifth year

Business

China Grove soap store sets sights on expansion into Kannapolis

News

Charlotte, UNC game canceled after 49ers place players in quarantine

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 18