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Mohegan - Renee Montgomery, who didn't play at all during the Connecticut Sun's previous home game, was asked Sunday if any part of her was tempted to say, "See?"
As in: See what happens when you get to play a little?
"Are you trying to get me in trouble?" Montgomery asked playfully, after her 18 points off the bench helped the Sun earn an 85-76 win over Atlanta at Mohegan Sun Arena, clearly Connecticut's best game of the season to date.
"I don't want to stir up trouble," Montgomery said. "I just want to let the way I play speak for itself. I'm not going to try to get into the who, what, where, when or why. I just want to work hard and give myself the best chance to be ready when my number's called."
Sun coach Anne Donovan wasn't as playful, getting testy with the media after the barrage of questions about Montgomery and her minutes. Or lack thereof.
"As I've told Renee, if Alex (Bentley) is in there and does well, Renee probably is not going to get an opportunity," Donovan said. "That's how it's been. Whoever goes in there first, when they play well, they keep the opportunity. Same thing with Chiney (Ogwumike), same thing with (Kelsey) Bone. It's not just Renee specific.
"Anybody else have any questions on that?" Donovan said. "You guys are looking for something … This is the game of basketball. People play based on production."
Earlier, Donovan said, "I'm looking at Renee for more offense. I'm looking for Alex to take advantage of things when they materialize. But I'm looking for Renee to take advantage right out of the gate. That's Renee's strength. Her offense."
Speaking of: There was more of it from Ogwumike, who finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Allison Hightower, despite foul trouble, had 13 points and six rebounds, while center Kelsey Bone went at Atlanta's formidable frontline of Erika DeSouza, Sancho Lyttle and Aneika Henry and finished with 12 points.
"We're not dwelling on the loss column. We're trying to build on the win column," Ogwumike said. "I'm not used to this. It's not like any of us want this to happen. It's against our DNA."
The Sun (2-5) led by double digits most of the second half and never let Atlanta (3-3) get closer than six. They also held Angel McCoughtry, notorious for raining baskets like hailstones on the Sun in the past, to seven points on 2-for-14 shooting. McCoughtry has seven 30-point games against the Sun in her career, three at Mohegan Sun Arena.
McCoughtry, who has been battling various injuries, didn't use them as an excuse, instead complimenting Katie Douglas' defensive effort.
"She's probably one of my toughest matchups," Douglas said, adding that she often drew the same assignment when she was playing at Indiana. "She's so dynamic and so explosive. And a little unpredictable sometimes."
The Sun shot 46 percent from the field and held Atlanta to 36. This is news, considering the Sun entered the game at 39 percent from the field to their opponents' 46. Connecticut also made four three-pointers, improving on their league-worst 19 percent conversion rate before Sunday.
"This team has been learning. We have very young players that are having to grow up very quickly," Donovan said. "I think that we've been seeing as a staff progress game to game, despite it not showing in the win column for us. We're learning lessons along the way. Tonight was great."
Sun forward Kelsey Griffin missed the game with a gastrointestinal ailment.