The Washington Post

Connecticu­t beats Seattle to spoil Bird’s final visit

SUN 88, STORM 83

- ASSOCIATED PRESS

Alyssa Thomas led all scorers with 19 points, and the Connecticu­t Sun spoiled former University of Connecticu­t star Sue Bird’s final scheduled game in the state, beating the Seattle Storm, 88-83, on Thursday night in Uncasville.

Brionna Jones added 13 points and Dewanna Bonner and Courtney Williams each had 12 for the Sun (20-9).

The 41-year-old Bird finished with 14 points and seven assists for the Storm (18-11). Two other former Huskies stars, Breanna Stewart and Gabby Williams, had 17 and 16 points, respective­ly.

Bird, who plans to retire at the end of this season, connected on her first two attempts of the game — both three-pointers — and had eight points in helping Seattle to an early 18-8 lead. The Storm led 24-21 after a quarter.

But Connecticu­t closed the first half on an 11-3 run. A onehanded set shot from Thomas gave the Sun its first lead just before halftime, and Connecticu­t went into the break ahead 44-40 and led 72-68 after three quarters.

Gabby Williams tied the game at 83 with a steal, a nice spin move and a layup with 2:55 to go. But Natisha Hiedeman hit a threepoint­er at the other end for the Sun. Neither team could hit a shot from the field over the final 2:42, and Courtney Williams hit two late free throws to help Connecticu­t hold on for the win.

The game was the first sellout in Uncasville since the 2019 WNBA Finals, and many of the fans were there to see Bird. They gave the 41-year-old a standing ovation during a pregame ceremony and another during player introducti­ons.

“I appreciate that they honor and welcome back the U- Conn. players,” Sun Coach Curt Miller said. “But through and through they are Sun fans, and I appreciate that balance.”

Bird played 30 miles north at U- Conn. from 1998 to 2002, leading the Huskies to two of their 11 NCAA championsh­ips. Her former college coach, Geno Auriemma, watched from a sky box.

LYNX 92, DREAM 85: Aerial Powers scored 25 points and Minnesota started fast and cruised to a victory over Atlanta in College Park, Ga.

Moriah Jefferson finished with 14 points and seven assists for the Lynx (11-19), who ended a threegame skid. Sylvia Fowles tallied 12 points and 14 rebounds, while Kayla Mcbride scored 11.

Powers had 10 points and Minnesota shot 65.6 percent, including 4 for 6 from three-point range, to take a 49-29 lead at halftime. Atlanta (12-17) shot 34.4 percent and made just 2 of 9 from distance before intermissi­on.

Tiffany Hayes scored 24 to pace the Dream. Rhyne Howard added 18 points, and Cheyenne Parker scored 14 with six rebounds.

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