UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault has seen a lot in his nine years coaching in the WNBA. But even he admitted that his experience on Sunday was special.
“That might be one of the (darndest) games I’ve ever seen since I’ve been in the league,” Thibault said.
Renee Montgomery scored 19 points and Asjha Jones had 17, including eight in the final 3:50, to lead the Sun to a 99-92 win over the Atlanta Dream. The game featured 16 lead changes, Montgomery’s halfcourt shot to end the third period and plenty of physical play.
Danielle McCray scored 16 points and Tina Charles had 10 points and 11 rebounds to help the Sun (11-6) overcome a 10-point deficit in the second half for their fifth win in six games to improve to 8-1 at home.
“I thought we were playing horribly defensively at halftime, they made some great shots, but they shot 62 percent in the second half and lost,” Thibault said. “I thought we forced turnovers, we got to the free-throw line, and we hung in the game when it looked pretty bleak.”
Angel McCoughtry scored 19 of her 36 points in the fourth quarter for Atlanta (8-10). McCoughtry, Atlanta’s leading scorer, was scratched from the starting lineup and didn’t appear until 3:15 remained in the first quarter.
Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said McCoughtry wasn’t feeling well Sunday morning.
“It’s one of those things, you just don’t feel well, I think she wanted to she see when I came in how I was feeling,” McCoughtry said, “but once you start playing, the jitters go away, the bug goes away.”
Erika DeSouza and Coco Miller had 18 points each and Iziane Castro Marques scored 10 for the Dream. DeSouza also had nine rebounds.
Jones’ three-point play with 1:47 left gave the Sun the lead for good at 91-89. Connecticut sealed the game by making eight free throws over the final 1:12.
Montgomery’s half-court shot to end the third period keyed a 7-0 run in the last 40 seconds, trimming Atlanta’s lead to 69-66.
“There wasn’t much of a thought process,” Montgomery said. “I thought there was no way I got it off in time.”
Officials reviewed the play and deemed the shot good.
“That’s what daggered us,” McCoughtry said.
The Dream trailed by as much as 12 before a 10-0 run late in the first half to cut it to 40-38. Atlanta trailed 45-42 at halftime.
Connecticut finished was 9 for 19 on 3s and 20 for 29 on free throws, while Atlanta was 3 for 12 from beyond the arc and 11 for 16 from the line.
“It was wild. It was a hard-fought game on both sides,” Meadors said. “We didn’t go to the free-throw line as much as they did and we had a lot of points to makeup from there and also from the 3-point line. … Connecticut got some breaks at the end and they took advantage.”