Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones absent down the stretch in Sky win

Jonquel Jones #35 of the Connecticut Sun drives to the basket during the game against the Chicago Sky during Round 2 Game 3 of the 2022 WNBA Playoffs on September 4, 2022 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. (Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jonquel Jones sat on the bench, watching on as the Chicago Sky pulled away down the stretch to defeat the Connecticut Sun 76-72 Sunday, putting the semifinal series at 2-1 in Chicago’s favor.

The reigning WNBA MVP was pulled from the game with 3:37 remaining on the clock, a divisive choice from Sun coach Curt Miller.

“I have to make those calls, difficult decisions all the time,” Miller told reporters of benching Jones. “They at times don’t come with as many doubles to Bri Jones. So at times, do we get the ball inside with spacing that we want because they send so much attention to JJ? It’s kind of a feel, and there’s always going to be second guesses when you lose, and no one says much when you win.”

Jones struggled to find her groove in Game 3, with the Sky holding her to just six points behind 30 percent shooing after contributing 23 points in Connecticut’s Game 2 matchup against Chicago.

DeWanna Bonner tried her best to carry Connecticut over the finish line, but her 18 points, 11 rebounds and four assists were not enough to topple Chicago.

“They know we want to score in the paint just like they do, so they were doubling,” Bonner said of Chicago’s attention on Jones. “She kind of struggled tonight, but she will bounce back.”

Candace Parker led the charge for the Sky, logging 16 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocks against a physical Connecticut side.

“We know Connecticut is a physical team, we know that we have our work cut out playing them, and we know Game 3 was going to be a grind,” Parker told reporters after the game. “We came out on top just because we were able to adjust to how physical the game was and what we needed to do.”

Emma Meesseman, critical in stifling the Sun’s offense, helped out on both sides of the ball, adding 13 points, six assists and three rebounds.

Chicago’s impressive defensive performance was the difference-maker, quieting Connecticut just enough to pull out the close victory.

The semifinal series will remain in Connecticut for Game 4, with Chicago heading into Tuesday’s matchup with a 2-1 lead.