Game 3 is a must-win for the SkyAnnie Costabileon October 3, 2021 at 12:58 am

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The idea that the Sun haven’t played their best game yet should terrify the Sky. They can’t afford to let the Sun get into a rhythm or take it to a Game 5, making Game 3 a must-win.

The Sky need to make a statement in Game 3 of their best-of-five WNBA semifinals series against the Connecticut Sun and that statement needs to be: we’re in control.

The team did its job stealing Game 1 in a double-overtime thriller that will go down in the WNBA history books thanks to Courtney Vandersloot. In Game 2, they looked like a team that could potentially steal another.

In the fourth quarter, exhaustion set in and attention to detail lapsed for the Sky leading to their 11-point loss and an even series.

If the series is even, the Sun are in control.

“When they get offensive rebounds it kind of demoralizes you a little bit,” Allie Quigley said. “We need to be tougher on the boards and executing on offense.”

The Sky went into the fourth quarter of Game 2 with a one-point lead over the Sun when Alyssa Thomas went into overdrive.

She scored 10 points in the fourth to finish with 15 points and 11 rebounds in her fourth game back on the court since tearing her Achilles in January. The Sky were ultimately outscored 21-9 in the last 10 minutes of the game.

The Sun had four other players finish scoring in double figures and none of them were WNBA MVP, Jonquel Jones.

“We still haven’t played our best game yet,” Brionna Jones said.

The idea that the Sun haven’t played their best game yet should terrify the Sky. They can’t afford to let the Sun get into a rhythm or take it to a Game 5, making Game 3 a must-win.

To secure the first one at home, Kahleah Copper and Azura Stevens will need to show up in a big way.

Copper is averaging 16.25 points in the playoffs for the Sky. In their single-elimination games against the Wings and the Lynx Copper had 23 and 16. Against the Sun, Copper was held to 13 points in both games but was impactful in other ways beginning with her defense.

Stevens meanwhile had 15 points and 8 rebounds against the Lynx and Sylvia Fowles. In both games against the Sun, she was less productive on offense her presence has been critical in freeing up Candace Parker in the post.

“I’m doing all that I can to compliment her as a player,” Stevens said ahead of the semifinals series. “Teams really key in on her. As someone that plays alongside her a lot, I’m always trying to think of ways I can help alleviate that pressure.”

Ahead of the series, the Sky were pegged as the underdog because of their seeding. The No. 6 in front of the team’s name doesn’t depict how well they match up against the Sun.

In their three regular-season games, the Sky gave the Sun three of their toughest matchups of the year. Part of that was because they were playing without Jones, another part is because of their depth.

Which presents the final aspect to the Sky’s success in Game 3, their bench.

The changes Wade made to his starting five following the Olympic break have paid dividends when their firepower is working. Sun coach Curt Miller called them an offensive juggernaut.

Against the Lynx, the bench combined for 20 points with Diamond DeShields scoring 14. In Game 1 of the semifinals DeShields, Stefanie Dolson and Astou Ndour-Fall had nine apiece. On Thursday those three combined for 13.

At their best, this team is getting everybody involved. That’s what they need Sunday afternoon if they are going to take control of this series back.

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