This was the run that a superteam was supposed to produce.
It took nearly three full quarters for the six-points-in-45-seconds burst, but eventually, that’s what the Liberty used to flip a one-point deficit into a five-point lead against the Sun.
Breanna Stewart started everything, driving underneath the basket and flipping a one-handed pass to Courtney Vandersloot for a basket.
Then, Stewart forced a turnover and threaded a pass to Sabrina Ionescu in transition.
And to prompt a Connecticut timeout, Vandersloot, who finished with 18 points, converted another layup.
It was part of a 12-2 run at the end of the third quarter that erased the Liberty’s six-point halftime deficit, helping hand the Sun — the reigning WNBA runner-ups — their first loss of the season in a 81-65 victory.
It made a 16-point win seem way simpler than it actually was.
Stewart only scored two points on two shots in the opening quarter, but she still led the Liberty (2-1) with 21 to follow up her franchise-record 45 on Sunday.
The Liberty only went 1-for-6 on 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes, far below their average, but still finished with nine.
Nevertheless, just three games into the season, the superteam earned a victory against Connecticut (3-1), one of the WNBA’s most consistent teams.
Following the Sun’s third-quarter timeout, Stefanie Dolson held possession and allowed a teammate to curl around, before sending a pass to Stewart for a 3-pointer.
Stewart capped the next possession with a make from beyond the arc, too.
The run that carried over into the fourth quarter, when the Liberty outscored the Sun by 10, helped them erase their early mistakes on offense.
Passes were deflected.
Offensive possessions came up empty.
After the Liberty took a 5-2 lead, the Sun scored 12 of the next 14 points.
They hit 2s and 3s in transition and Tiffany Hayes compiled seven quick points.
The Liberty did everything they wanted the Sun to do.
They made Connecticut shoot 3-pointers after it entered last in the WNBA in makes per game (5.7) and attempted the third-fewest per game (19.0).
They prevented — as much as possible — a quicker tempo in transition.
It was a strategy echoed by head coach Sandy Brondello and Ionescu pregame, and then for 20 minutes, they implemented it.
Connecticut shot the 3-pointers anyway.
The Sun made them, too.
Their six-point halftime lead was buoyed by six made 3s on 14 attempts.
The Liberty couldn’t manufacture a response on offense until, really, the third quarter.
That’s when Stewart, Vandersloot and Ionescu took over, even with Jonquel Jones on the bench with foul trouble against her former team.
Beyond any strategy, that was how games were supposed to unfold for the Liberty.
Their series of offseason acquisitions laid the foundation for that.
It made everything — at least across 40 minutes, early in the season — seem normal.