Connecticut Sun rout Sparks in sweep of WNBA semifinals

Los Angeles Sparks' Chelsea Gray, second from left, and Connecticut Sun's Jasmine Thomas, second from right, battle for a ball during the first half of Game 3 of a WNBA basketball playoff game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Long Beach, Calf. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Jasmine Thomas had 29 points and Courtney Williams added 17 points and 13 rebounds to lead Connecticut to a 78-56 win in Game 3 of the WNBA semifinals and give the Sun a sweep of the series Sunday.

Connecticut advances to the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2005, where it will play either Washington or Las Vegas. The Mystics have a 2-1 series lead over the Aces.

Nneka Ogwumike had 17 points to lead the Sparks. Candace Parker was held to just four points. She played just 11 minutes in the game. She sat out the second quarter and took one shot in the third quarter before going to the bench with 5:54 left. She didn’t return to the game.

Thomas scored 14 of her 29 points in the third quarter on 6-for-7 shooting to lead the Sun to a 63-44 lead heading into the final quarter. Thomas made big shot after big shot for the Sun. Connecticut led 40-32 at halftime. Thomas had a team-best 11 points in the first half on 3 of 4 shots – all 3-pointers. She took the Sun’s first shot of the third quarter, a 3-pointer, and made it.

Williams scored the first seven points for the Sun. The Sparks starters combined for just seven points in the first quarter and were a combined 3-for-15 from the field.

The Sun shot 43.8 per cent in the first half while Los Angeles was just 34.9 per cent from the field. The Sparks made just 1 of 13 3-pointers in the first half.

The game was played at Long Beach State because the Sparks’ normal home Staples Center wasn’t available.

COURTSIDE CELEBRITIES

Among the celebrities in attendance were Billie Jean King and actress Vivica A. Fox.

OFFENSIVE STAT?

Each team had just one offensive rebound in the first quarter. The Sparks had four in the second quarter with the Sun grabbing two in the second. By the time the game was three quarters old, the Sun had outrebounded the Sparks 35-23.

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