The Connecticut Sun were 0-4 against the New York Liberty in the 2023 #WNBA regular season but stunned the league’s second-best team 78-63 in the opener of their semifinal playoff series Sunday in the Big Apple. The SBIA Model is going right back to the Sun for Game 2 tonight in NY with half-unit plays on them at +350 on the full game moneyline, +235 on the first-half moneyline and +5 on the first-half spread. It’s a best-of-5 series. New York is just 1-4 ATS in its past five games.
Defense was the name of the game for the Sun in the opener as New York’s 63 points and 33.8% shooting were both season lows and coach Sandy Brondello called her team's performance the worst of the season. The Liberty averaged 89.2 points during the year.
Star and potential WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart had 19 points but was 7 for 25 from the field, including missing all eight of her 3-point attempts as she was constantly hounded by Sun ace defender Alyssa Thomas, a first-team All-WNBA Defensive Team member. Stewart said her team "didn't handle [Connecticut's defense] well," lacking poise and composure.
“They were being aggressive, blowing things up for us. But I don’t think we handled it well,” Breanna Stewart said. “We didn’t stay poised or composed. We had the ability to get to the second and third side, and we just didn’t do that.”
The SBIA Model recommended New York at +145 before the #WNBAPlayoffs started as the champion pick. The Liberty are now +240.
Connecticut head coach Stephanie White said it was "probably the most consistent 40 minutes that we've played all year. … They are such an offensive juggernaut, we had to make things as difficult as possible." The Sun’s 98.8 defensive rating was second best in the league this regular season, only behind the Las Vegas Aces.
New York led by three at halftime before Connecticut went on a 16-2 run to start the third quarter to take control. The Liberty shot 1-for-5 with three turnovers, got blocked twice and missed a technical free throw to start the second half. The Sun became the seventh WNBA team -- and first since the 2011 Lynx -- to win a playoff game by at least that many after being down at halftime.
Connecticut was led by DeWanna Bonner who finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal and three blocks. She moved into third all-time in scoring in Sun postseason history with 394 points. Rebecca Allen finished with a postseason career-high 18 points, along with seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Connecticut outscored New York 34-22 in the paint and 7-0 on the fastbreak.
The Sun are 5-2 ATS in their past seven games and 4-1 ATS in their past five away.