Uncasville, Conn. – The Connecticut Sun rolled to an 86-77 win over the Indiana Fever Saturday to begin the season 3-0 for the first time since 2008.
Alyssa Thomas paced Connecticut with 21 points, while Rachel Banham scored a career-high 14 points off the bench in leading three other players in double figures.
Connecticut’s offensive firepower so far has them averaging 96.3 points per game – tops in the WNBA – following a league-record two straight 100-point-plus wins. The game against Indiana was no different, as they got off to a quick start and never looked back. Coach Curt Miller said a strong start was their goal.
We didn’t shy away about talking about how important May was this year,” he said. “We knew when the schedule came out and how much we are on the road in June and early July, that this three game home-stand to start the year was very important to us. Mission accomplished getting to 3-0.”
Leading by only three points after the first quarter, the Sun began the second on a 13-0 run, which pushed the lead to 37-21. But a layup form Erica Wheeler with 3:37 before the break brought the visitors to within five, 40-35. Connecticut ended the second on an 8-4 run to pad their advantage to nine points.
They continued the onslaught in the third period, going on a 20-6 run halfway through to go up 70-51 going into the fourth. The Fever brought it to within nine two times in the last frame, but the Sun answered each time.
Rookie Kelsey Mitchell led Indiana with 18 points, while Candice Dupree had 14 and rookie Victoria Vivians, 13.
Miller has been impressed with what Thomas brings to the table each game.
“She is one of the most versatile players in the league”, he said. “You can play her at the power forward position, you can play her at guard and she’s one of the elite defenders in the league. Tonight, she was the centerpiece of everything we did on both ends.”
Mitchell knocked down four three-point shots and scored 12 points in the last two quarters. Vivians scored 10 of her points in the second half. This was Mitchell’s third straight double-digit game.
Fever coach Pokey Chatman said the team’s newcomers have progressed.
“I was pleased with the effort – especially with the babies,” she said. “They are still learning things and retaining things, and I want to make sure we don’t take a step back because that is an effort thing and they gave a lot of it tonight.”
Mitchell said it has been most difficult trying to scout players who are new to her.
“It’s a huge adjustment because you have to know personnel, and I am really bad at that at this point,” she said. “I don’t know that a player like (Connecticut guard) Alex Bentley can shoot the three and put it on the floor. For us, the huge adjustment is knowing that the energy has to stay up for the entire game.”
The Sun will have some time off before kicking off its four-game road trip against the Chicago Sky on Friday.