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Thornton, Wings beat Sun, force deciding Game 3 in Round 1 of WNBA Playoffs

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Kayla Thornton scored 20 points and Teaira McCowan had 17 points and 11 rebounds to help the Dallas Wings beat the Connecticut Sun 89-79 on Sunday to avoid elimination and win the franchise’s first playoff game since 2009.

The sixth-seeded Wings, who will host Wednesday’s Game 3, never trailed. They led by double digits for the final 26-plus minutes, despite a 22-2 fourth-quarter run that trimmed a 31-point Sun deficit to 84-73 with less than 2 minutes left.

“I think we have to learn how to capitalize,” McCowan said. “With us being a young team, you know, sometimes we get a little sloppy — as you could see at the end. But, I mean, once we tighten that up, it’ll be good for the next game.”

Allisha Gray had 15 points, eight assists and three steals for the Wings, and Marina Mabrey scored 14 points.

Jonquel Jones had 20 points and nine rebounds for third-seeded Connecticut, and Brionna Jones also scored 20. DiJonai Carrington added 13 points.

“I knew I had to go in and do what I do best, which is rebound, be a dominant force inside, and that’s what I did tonight for my teammates” said McCowan, who had seven points and five rebounds in Game 1.

“We have to put our talent to work. I mean, we know what we can do. We have great players on our team so if everyone plays their role, plays team offence and defence, we’ll be fine.

Dallas shot 48 from 3-point range and finished with 28 assists.

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