The Connecticut Sun are finally returning home after spending nearly two weeks on the road.
The Sun will host Chicago Sky for the next two games of the WNBA playoff semifinal series, which is a 1-1 draw. Game 3 is Sunday and the fourth game is Tuesday.
Connecticut went to Dallas in the first round and beat the Wings in the decisive Game 3 to advance to the semifinals. Instead of returning home, the Sun flew to Chicago to prepare for the series with Sky. Connecticut won the opening before falling 85-77 in Game 2 on Wednesday.
Now, the team has had the chance to sleep in their beds and will play in front of their home fans on Sunday.
“It’s a huge game, an opportunity for us.” Sun coach Curt Miller said so. “We understand what Game 3 is like in our league.”
For the Sun to be successful, they will need to find a way to slow Candace Parker, who was dominant on both ends of the pitch during the first two games of the series, averaging 20.5 points, 11 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 2.5 steals.
“He’s had so many different great games. Even when she has fewer stats, she’s still doing so many great things on the court like being a great leader, “said Chicago’s Emma Meesseman of Parker.” I don’t think there are enough words. I think it’s your job to find them.
“To describe what he has done on the pitch, he is everywhere. Defense, offense. Off the pitch, she was very vocal. I’m happy to be with her on this show because going against her isn’t fun, I think.
Here are some other storylines for Game 3:
Brionna Jones was honored as the league’s sixth player of the year on Thursday. You received 53 out of 56 votes from a national media panel. Chicago striker Azura Stevens got two votes and Washington’s Myisha Hines-Allen the other. Jones went off the bench in 29 of the Sun’s 36 games and averaged 13.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals.
GOING BACK THE TIME
Parker knows how difficult it is to win a championship: he took his first title in 2016 with Los Angeles and his second with Chicago last season.
“It took me nine years to get to the finals,” he said. “You have an opportunity. This team has an opportunity, so we can’t miss the opportunity. If we don’t, we don’t because they are just so much better than us. And so we go out and play basketball. And I think this is how we ride is we just have to have the right mindset coming up and we have to be the ones that set the tone. ”
The 36-year-old striker is looking to take Sky to a repeat, something that hasn’t been done in 20 years. He mocked the idea that he now plays better than when he was younger.
“I don’t think so,” Parker said after the victory in Game 2. “I think the younger CP in the playoffs was more dominant. But I just think I mentally understand moments and things that I didn’t understand when I was fighting to get to the finals or fighting to win in the playoffs ”.
AP freelance writer Gavin Good contributed to this report.
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