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Mohegan - Here are two quick reasons as to why the Connecticut Sun lost to the Washington Mystics 74-66 on Thursday night:
• The Sun began the game by missing 12 of their first 16 shots.
• The Sun ended the game missing 12 of their final 13.
Connecticut gave the 5,014 at Mohegan Sun Arena some reason to believe when it rallied in the third quarter to take the lead. The Sun couldn't close things out, though, a trait that separates the top teams from the dregs. It's a trait that the young and all-new Sun haven't developed yet.
"The ebbs-and-flows and the intensity that came and went is the product of a young team," Connecticut coach Anne Donovan said. "Down the stretch, it wasn't necessarily our young players that had the looks. It was some of our older players that didn't connect."
Kia Vaughn had 16 points and eight rebounds for Washington (4-2) which, like the Sun, has infused itself with youth. Monique Currie and Ivory Latta both scored 12.
Rookie Chiney Ogwumike had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Sun (2-6), which shot 34.2 percent.
Connecticut began the game tied for the WNBA's worst field goal percentage.
"We had some good looks in (the final six minutes), so it's disappointing," Donovan said. "We had a great third quarter. I thought our energy defensively led to good offense and confidence. Then they came out in the fourth quarter and just went right at us. It seemed to keep us on our heels for the rest of that quarter, even when we had good looks down the stretch."
Alex Bentley had 12 points and Douglas scored 11 for Connecticut.
Thursday was the first game back to the state for former UConn stars Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley, who were the sixth and seventh overall picks by the Mystics in April's WNBA Draft.
Hartley started for Washington and scored six while Dolson had six points, four rebounds and two blocks off the bench.
Connecticut started the game well. Bentley's 3-pointer gave the Sun a 10-6 lead with five minutes, 41 seconds left in the first quarter.
Connecticut didn't score again until rookie Alyssa Thomas made the first of two free throws with 27.2 seconds left in the quarter.
Washington, meanwhile, gradually went ahead with a 12-1 run. Currie's pull-up jumper with seconds left in the first quarter put Washington ahead, 18-11.
The Mystics went ahead by as much as 11, 36-25, with over a minute left in the first half.
Bentley brought the Sun back in the third quarter. She scored seven straight points during a 19-10 run that put Connecticut ahead, 49-48, with 2:57 left in the period. She also assisted on two baskets during that run.
The teams swapped the lead four times in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter when Currie made a jumper to give Washington a one-point lead.
Latta scored on a running hook shot in transition to push the Mystics ahead, 58-55, with eight minutes, 20 seconds still left in the game. They never trailed again.
"It's like a journey where you take one step forward and then two steps back," Ogwumike said. "This sounds horrible, but hopefully it's going to be one step forward, one step back. You know?
"We make mistakes. I made mistakes, but I'm learning from them and I think that's the key, just learning from our mistakes and being able to adjust and adapt quickly in games. I don't think it was quick enough (tonight). The third quarter is way too late. It has to be, maybe, third possession of the game."