Sun suffer worst loss in franchise history
Mohegan - Kerri Gardin, Allison Hightower, Anete Jekabsone-Zogota and DeMya Walker stood in front of the Connecticut Sun bench to start the second half, waiting for their team to score.
The foursome waited. And waited. And waited.
Connecticut finally scored nearly four minutes into the half after the Atlanta Dream had scored 25 unanswered points in all.
Atlanta 94, Connecticut 62.
Worst. Loss. Ever.
"I can't remember coaching a game like this in a long time," Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "I keep thinking back to the saying somebody had. 'Some days you're the bug. Some days you're the windshield.' We were the bug today. They were good and we were equally as bad, and that turned into a major catastrophe."
A Mohegan Sun Arena crowd of 7,003 witnessed Connecticut's worst loss in franchise history. The previously worst disaster was 29 points in a 75-46 loss to the Indiana Fever on May 27, 2008.
Compounding the Sun's woe was that they dropped into a fourth-place tie with the New York Liberty in the Eastern Conference. Both teams are 13-11.
It gets worse — if the playoffs started today, New York would be the fourth and final seed based on its 2-1 series advantage over the Sun.
The teams play Sunday at New York and again on Aug. 22, the final day of the season.
Connecticut trailed Atlanta 40-36 with 2 minutes, 40 seconds left in the first half.
Atlanta (17-9) scored the final 13 points of the half to take a 53-36 lead.
The Dream opened the second half with a 12-point run to go ahead 65-36.
Connecticut's Sandrine Gruda momentarily stopped the calamity with a layup with 6:04 left in the third.
Angel McCoughtry (20 points) went down to the other end and hit a 3-pointer for Atlanta.
"I don't even know what to say," Connecticut's Asjha Jones said. "The second quarter was unreal."
The Dream led by as much as 39 points (84-45) with over a minute left in the third. They outscored the Sun 33-12 in that quarter, too.
Erika de Souza had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Dream, which pulled into a first-place tie with the Indiana Fever.
Atlanta beat the Sun on the boards 52-43 and had 11 second-chance points in the first half alone.
Connecticut turned it over 23 times, which the Dream converted into 27 points.
"We were tentative, soft, and just unable to get a handle on the game," Sun Kara Lawson said. "They were hitting shots from everywhere, it felt like, but we certainly didn't provide much resistance on the defensive end."
Jones had a team-high 16 points for Connecticut, including her 3,000th point. Walker added 13 points and five rebounds.
The combination of starters Tina Charles, Kelsey Griffin, Tan White and Lawson combined to shoot 4 of 18 for 11 points.
"When 10 people each make a few mistakes in a row, when you just take turns making mistakes, it compounds," Sun Renee Montgomery said. "They came out attacking. It's just not good. The second and third quarter were just not good."
Sales to be honored
Connecticut will honor Nykesha Sales, its all-time leading scorer, as part of Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day on Aug. 15 against Indiana Fever.
"We are glad to have the chance to honor Nykesha for her contribution to the Connecticut Sun," vice president and general manager Chris Sienko said in a press release. "It has been a long time coming, but we are grateful that Nykesha will allow us to say thank you for everything she did for our franchise. We hope fans will come out and do just that."
Sales appeared in a franchise record 278 games, including 248 straight. She had 3,955 points and helped the Sun to Eastern Conference titles in 2004 and 2005.
Sales last played for Connecticut on Aug. 27, 2007. She took a hiatus from the WNBA shortly before the 2008 season began but has not officially retired and is still competing overseas.
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