Sun have a quick turnaround with road game at Los Angeles
The Connecticut Sun had little time to celebrate their most important win of the season.
Just hours after rallying for a pulsating 89-85 victory over the Las Vegas Aces on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena, the Sun took to the friendly skies for a cross-country journey and another big WNBA game against the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday (5 p.m., NESN Plus) at the Staples Center.
Connecticut began Friday night in second-place but arrived in Hollywood in first, courtesy of the Chicago Sky's 85-78 victory over the Washington Mystics later Friday night.
The Sun and Mystic are both 20-8 with six regular-season games remaining and the Aces are 19-10, but Connecticut holds the tiebreaker over both. The top two teams earn byes into the best-of-three semifinals and avoid early-round single-elimination games.
The Sparks, meanwhile, are 17-10. They have already qualified for the playoffs, but could bolster their own chances of moving up in the race with a win over the Sun.
"That's a big win for us," Sun coach Curt Miller said after the win over Las Vegas on Friday night. "Right now, as much for psyche as anything else that we can step up in big games and rise to the occasion."
Sunday will be another major challenge for Connecticut, not only because of the short turnaround, but because the Sun are facing a quality opponent on the road. The Sun are 14-1 at home, but only 6-7 on the road. They have split their first two meetings with the Sparks, losing 77-70 in Los Angeles back on May 31.
The Sparks, who have won 10 straight games at the Staples Center, are 10-3 over their last 13 games, including a 98-65 win over the Indiana Fever on Thursday night. They have five players averaging in double figures, led by all-star Nneka Ogwumike, who leads the team in scoring (16.7 points) and rebounding (9.3). Her sister Chiney, who was traded by the Sun in the offseason, is averaging 10.1 points and 6.1 rebounds.
Sunday's game is the first of three straight road games for Connecticut, which visits the Seattle Storm on Tuesday (10 p.m.) and the New York Liberty on Friday (7:30 p.m.) before returning home on Wednesday, Sept. 4, to play the Dallas Wings.
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The Connecticut Sun have been the stronger second-half team in both games of their WNBA semifinal series against the Los Angeles Sparks and taken a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Game 3 is Sunday at the Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State.