Banham Sparks Win Over Los Angeles

Uncasville — Rachel Banham hit a catch-and-shoot three-pointer from well beyond the arc with .2 seconds left as the Connecticut Sun edged the Los Angeles Sparks 68-65 Monday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.

“I thought it was going in,” Banham said of the shot, which came off a play drawn up out of a timeout with .5 seconds left. “It felt good coming off my hand.”

Following up on a strong offseason in Australia, Banham has looked sharp throughout her third WNBA training camp.

“She looks like the Rachel we drafted,” Sun head coach and general manager Curt Miller said of Banham, who was selected with the fourth pick overall in 2016. “She has had a great camp. We all are really confident when Rachel has the ball in her hands. She’s not getting sped up like she has in the past. She’s playing with a level of confidence we haven’t seen since she joined the team.”

Returning to the court for the first time since the last game of 2016, veteran center Chiney Ogwumike had 10 points and eight rebounds — seven rebounds in the first half alone — in just under 15 minutes.

Connecticut led by as much as 12, building a 57-45 lead with 9:30 left in regulation. The Sparks used a 15-3 run to tie the game at 60 with 3:54 remaining.

Two players battling to make the team — Jess January and Betnijah Laney — made big plays late. January hit a big three pointer to make it 63-60 with just over three minutes left, and Laney hit two free throws late to tie the game at 65.

That set the stage for final shot by Banham.

“We had a lot of people out there playing their first game and I was happy with how we competed,” Los Angeles coach Brian Agler said. “We can get better in just about every area, but every team can say that right now.”

Connecticut hosts the Dallas Wings tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Get tickets