Published September 04. 2012 4:00AM
It has been a nine-day, four-city voyage of self-discovery for the Connecticut Sun, whose lead in the Eastern Conference is shrinking, but whose depth - and perhaps faith in each other - has never been higher.
And if the Sun win in Washington tonight (7 p.m., no TV), they'll return home in first place with a 3-1 road trip.
Connecticut (19-7) leads Indiana (17-8) by 1.5 games in the conference. Indiana has won five straight, three while the Sun have been on the road, but has yet to overtake Connecticut.
"I don't like the lead shrinking, but I like the way we've been playing for the most part," Sun coach Mike Thibault said Monday. "I look at Indiana's next stretch of games and it's not fun."
Thibault alluded to games this week at Atlanta and San Antonio and two games next week against defending WNBA champion Minnesota.
"The good part is that we control our destiny," Thibault said. "If we can win a few this week, we keep the pressure on them. If they sweep their next four games, they're pretty damn good."
The Sun have won two of three on the trip thus far, dropping Sunday's game in Atlanta, 87-80.
"Coach came in after the game and said we made a great effort (vs. Atlanta) and I think we did," center Tina Charles said.
Charles went on to praise guard/forward Danielle McCray, who has rediscovered her season on the road trip. McCray, who has scored in double digits for two straight games, nearly matched Angel McCoughtry basket for basket during a wild fourth period. McCray and teammate Kelsey Griffin, who weren't playing much before the Olympic break, may give the Sun even more depth at playoff time.
"Danielle has been better at keeping it simple," Thibault said. "Instead of trying to make great plays, she's basically just shot the ball, which is one of her strengths."
The Sun's road trip has been without Olympian Asjha Jones (strained Achilles') and forward Mistie Mims (quad). Thibault said Mims will be a game-time decision tonight while Jones continues to make progress.
"A little better every day," he said. "My hope is that we can get Asjha to play in three or four games before the playoffs just to get her back into a rhythm."
Washington (5-21) has lost five straight overall, eight in a row to the Sun and four straight to Connecticut at Verizon Center.