Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones shoots as Chicago Sky forward Candace Parker, left, defends during the second half of Game 4 of a WNBA basketball playoff semifinal Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
#By RENALDO DORSETT
#Tribune Sports Reporter
#THE ninth meeting between Jonquel Jones’ Connecticut Sun and Chicago Sky will determine which team will advance to the WNBA Finals and which team will see its 2022 season come to an end.
#The Sky will host a winner-take-all game five at 8pm tonight in the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and the winner will advance to face the Las Vegas Aces in the Finals.
#Facing elimination Tuesday night, the Sun scored a WNBA playoff record 66 points in the paint en route to a 104-80 win in game four. Jones finished with nine points, seven rebounds and five assists.
#The 24-point margin of victory was the largest in the series thus far and the Sun’s 104 points was a franchise record on 57 percent shooting from the field.
#Sun head coach Curt Miller said the team responded in the manner it had to with their season on the line.
#“Big response by our team and the starting group that really set the tone early with the aggressiveness at both ends of the floor. We talked the entire time about how this was going to be a points in the paint series for us and that was an incredible performance with points in the paint,” he said.
#“We felt deflated after game three that we played so well defensively but couldn’t get to the finish line, so incredible heart and determination by our players to do what was capable.”
#He highlighted Jones’ leadership early on as a scorer, then later as a facilitator when the Sky came with double teams.
#“I thought she was very aggressive with catches, she set the tone with her aggressiveness wanting the basketball,” he said. “She was unselfish, I thought at times she was almost too unselfish out of some congestion and I thought she could take some shots but I was really pleased with her activity, her aggressiveness was impressive.”
#Along with Jones’ stat line, DeWanna Bonner finished with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Alyssa Thomas finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
#It marked just the fifth time in WNBA Playoffs history that a team had three players each with over nine points, six rebounds and four assists and the first time since the Minnesota Lynx accomplished the feat in 2013.
#The Sun shot under 40 percent in two of the first three games of the series, before their efficient shooting percentage in game four.
#Early in the series, Jones cited ball control and defence as her team’s keys to winning.
#“We got to take care of the ball, making an emphasis on being strong with it whether we’re in the post – for me and the other post players the double teams are coming – so being ready for that – but ultimately just being better,” she said following a game two loss.
#“For us, defence is such a big part of what we are doing, being able to get stops and run out in transition. In the games we lost you could count the amount of times we got three stops, which is something we use as a mark for the level of defence we’re playing in the game.”
#Jones scored her seventh point midway through the second quarter, more than she scored in all of game three when she finished with a series low six.
#Game five will be the 10th matchup this season between the two teams. The Sun took game one on the road at Wintrust Arena before the Sky took back-to-back games to take a series lead. “Obviously home court and crowds play a factor but it will come down to who plays better for two hours on Thursday,” Miller said. “We have won some tough road games, we have a team that grinds and has toughness and has grit and I feel like that’s what you need to win a big playoff game on the road.”