Connecticut 77, Sacramento 70 (OT)
Sun Work Late to Even Finals
UNCASVILLE, Conn., Sept. 15 (Ticker) -- Brooke Wyckoff gave the desperate Connecticut Sun a leg to stand on.
Wyckoff's 3-pointer with two seconds left tied the game and the Sun pitched a shutout in overtime as they evened the WNBA Finals with a 77-70 victory over the mistake-prone Sacramento Monarchs.
Playing without injured star point guard Lindsay Whalen, the Sun were seconds away from an 0-2 deficit but got back in the best-of-five series. Games 3 and 4 are Sunday and Tuesday at Sacramento.
Perhaps Connecticut's best player, Whalen sat out with a non-displaced fracture of her left tibia and a sprained left ankle.
"We'll keep getting (her) treatment)," Thibault said. "It's not a high ankle sprain, so hopefully by Sunday, she can play."
Whalen watched helplessly from the bench as two free throws each from DeMya Walker and Kara Lawson gave Sacramento a 70-67 lead with 8.6 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, the Sun inbounded to Katie Douglas, who momentarily held the ball but was not fouled by the Monarchs. She passed inside the arc to Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who drew inexplicable help defense from Ticha Penicheiro.
"There was no reason when the ball went to Taj, where she could only make a two that wouldn't catch us, that somebody would leave their player wide open," Monarchs coach John Whisenant said. "But it happened."
McWilliams-Franklin passed to the right corner to an open Wyckoff, whose shot splashed through to force overtime and bring a roar from the crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena.
"First it was a feeling of relief like we were back in the game and that I actually hit the shot and wasn't the dork that missed it at the end with the wide open shot," Wyckoff said. "But, yeah, it's a great feeling."
"She was not the first, second, third option on the play," Thibault said. "But we put her on the play because she's a great wing shooter."
The Sun took the momentum into the extra session. McWilliams-Franklin made a layup and threw a nice court-length bounce pass that led to a three-point play by Nykesha Sales for a 75-70 lead with 1:55 to go.
Meanwhile, the Monarchs missed all seven of their shots and committed two turnovers in overtime.
"We didn't have any (momentum)," Whisenant said. "We were flat."
McWilliams-Franklin bounced back from a sub-par performance in Game 1 with 24 points and 16 rebounds. Sales scored 19 points, Douglas added 16 and Wyckoff nine off the bench for the Sun, who used a zone defense to neutralize Penicheiro's penetration.
Griffith and Nicole Powell scored 16 points each, Walker added 14 and Lawson 11 for the Monarchs, who lost for the first time in six postseason games.
"They were more hungry than we were," Griffith said. "I think we kind of put it in the back of our heads that we were going back home."
There were five lead changes and two ties in the final six minutes of regulation. Powell and Wyckoff traded 3-pointers before Griffith tied it, 64-64, on a post move with 3:32 to play.
Powell's two free throws were answered by a 3-pointer by Sales that gave Connecticut a 67-66 edge with 2:23 left. McWilliams-Franklin missed two shots in the final 20 seconds.