Alyssa Thomas, DeWanna Bonner power Sun past Lynx in decisive Game 3, to advance to WNBA semifinals

Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas (25) shoots as Minnesota Lynx forward Dorka Juhasz, right, defends during the first half of Game 3 of a WNBA first-round basketball playoff series Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

After being forced into an elimination game, the Connecticut Sun stepped on the gas early against the Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday.

The No. 3 seeded Sun opened up a 26-19 first quarter lead and didn’t look back en route to a 90-75 win in the winner-take-all Game 3. Connecticut advances to a semifinal matchup against the No. 2 Seed New York Liberty, while Minnesota’s season comes to a close.

The Sun win ensures that the top four seeds advance to the semifinal round. The No. 1 Las Vegas Aces will take on the No. 4 Dallas Wings in the other semifinal series.

The Lynx, whose secured an 82-75 win in Game 2 to force Game 3, never mounted a challenge on Wednesday. Connecticut went into halftime with a 49-34 lead and started the fourth quarter up, 65-49. Minnesota didn’t cut its deficit to single digits in the second half.

DeWanna Bonner played a co-starring role alongside Alyssa Thomas. The five-time All-Star filled up the stat sheet with 25 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, one steal and three blocks. Thomas, a four-time All-Star likewise added a substantial double-double of her own, posting 28 points, 12 assists, six rebounds and one steal. The point total is a playoff career-high for the 10th-year veteran

Things will get considerably tougher in the next round against a Liberty team featuring three All-Stars in Breanna Stewart, Sabrina Ionescu and Courtney Vandersloot.