Sun Fall in Overtime to Indiana
Fever top Sun 75-73 in OT
UNCASVILLE – The Connecticut Sun found themselves in an eerily familiar spot last night, in an important WNBA Eastern Conference head-to-head matchup with the Indiana Fever.
The Sun dug themselves an early eleven point deficit in the games’ first three minutes, subsequently battled back to take the lead at 65-63 with just 3:46 left in regulation before falling in overtime as the Fever’s Tamika Catchings hit the game winner.
Catchings (15 points) stop-and-pop from just inside the paint with six seconds left in the first overtime lifted the Fever to a 75-73 win in front of 4,868 disappointed Sun fans at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The game against the Fever (9-8) was the Sun’s first game after the WNBA All-Star game and a rescheduled contest from the original July 18 date caused by an upset to Indiana’s travel plans from Washington, D.C.
It was a bitter loss for the Sun (8-8) who has made it a habit of sorts to start games with double –digit deficits and having to battle their way back into their games.
This was the tenth time this season that Connecticut has spotted their opponents double-digit leads, which they have been able to battle back and win just four.
“We can’t play a whole season playing from behind,” noted Sun guard Jasmine Thomas in postgame remarks.
“We have to start with more intensity, particularly on the defensive end.”
In fairness to the Sun they were not at full strength against the Fever, with leading scorer Alex Bentley ill (season low 3 points) and veteran forward Camille Little nursing her right hamstring.
Although Little did come off the bench to hit a big three-pointer to give the Sun a brief 73-71 lead in overtime.
“I am not making excuses,” said Sun coach Anne Donovan.
“We were not at full strength tonight and we need to be at full strength to compete and win games.”
The Sun played from behind for nearly 34 minutes until local UConn Huskie favorite Kelly Faris sank a pair of free throws to knot the score at 63 with just 6:14 left in the game.
The Sun grabbed their first lead when Kelsey Bone hit a scoop off the glass to make the score 65-63 with just 3:46 left in regulation.
Connecticut had an opportunity to win in regulation but Bentley’s desperation three from long range clanged off the iron at the buzzer.
That miss led to overtime and set up Cathings game winner.
“Our intensity and energy overall was very good,” said winning Indiana coach Stephanie White.
“We didn’t always have great decision making, but at the same time you make up for that with how hard you play.”
The Fever’s Shavonte Zellous came off the bench to lead all scorers with 19 points, which included the Fever’s first two baskets in overtime.
“She (Zellous) was huge,” said White.
“We needed her big time and she stepped up for us.”
The Sun had four players reach double figures in the loss with Bone leading the way with 14 points.
Shekinna Stricklin added 12 while Alyssa Thomas and Little chipped in with 10 points.
“We did a lot of good things, but the little things need to be executed to win a game,” noted Donovan.
The Sun return to action on Friday, July 31, when they host the Seattle Storm (5-13) at Mohegan Sun Arena (7 p.m.)
Rookie and top draft pick Elizabeth Williams (Duke) tied a franchise record with four blocks in the first quarter against the Fever. Williams had five blocks in the game.
Kayla Pedersen (Stanford) continues to make a difference off the bench for the Sun. The hard working forward, in her fourth year in the league, gave the Sun a huge lift with her defensive intensity, rebounding and timely shooting.
“I really like what Kayla is doing for us, I really like how she is playing,” noted Donovan.
Tamika Catchings surpassed Diana Taurasi for second place on the WNBA all-time scoring list with 6,735 career points.
The Sun signed veteran forward Jennifer Lacy (Pepperdine) on July 8 waiving Inga Orekhova to make roster space available. Lacy has appeared in 276 WNBA games with stops in Phoenix, Atlanta, Tulsa and Los Angeles.
Chelsea Gray (Duke) is a serious contender for Rookie of the Year honors. Before last night’s game Gray was fifth among all rookies with a 7.9 ppg scoring mark. The Duke product is first in 3-point field goal percentage (38.9%) and first in assists (2.7 per game).
The Fever’s Natalie Achonwa (Notre Dame) is also a leading candidate for the honor.
The Sun will return to Mohegan Sun Arena for a two-game home stand with San Antonio (Tuesday, August 4) and Washington (Friday, August 7).
Both games start at 7 p.m.
Follow Bob for all the Sun game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob
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