Sun take six-game win streak to Washington tonight

Connecticut's Alyssa Thomas, left, and Chiney Ogwumike celebrate Thomas' basket during the second half of Wednesday's game at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Sun won, 79-69.
Connecticut's Alyssa Thomas, left, and Chiney Ogwumike celebrate Thomas' basket during the second half of Wednesday's game at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Sun won, 79-69. Jessica Hill/AP Photo

Mohegan — The Connecticut Sun were given some time off last week, so four of them decided to spend a day together at Six Flags New England.

"(We decided) to go on the free fall for a warm-up (for the roller coasters)," rookie Chiney Ogwumike said. "I was regretting my choice to put my life in question, and then it dropped and I freaked out.

"Kelly Faris was to my left. Kelley Cain was to my right. I was slapping them in the face and everything, then I realized, 'oh, my gosh, it's fun!'"

The Sun players like one another. They really, really like one another.

"We're always together," Connecticut's Kelsey Bone said. "We like to have fun with each other and that's something that I've heard in dealing with fans, things like, 'you guys are just fun. You look like you're having fun.' And we are."

The Sun take their fun and their six-game winning streak to the Washington Mystics tonight at the Verizon Center (7 p.m.)

"Two days off and other teams I've coached, as soon as practice is over they're flying out of town," Connecticut coach Anne Donovan said. "Everybody was kind of looking forward to staying local and hanging with each other within a close proximity.

"I say this often, but in the women's game chemistry can go a long way."

The Sun (8-6) last lost at home to Washington (6-9).

Bone tweeted on June 17, "I love my team."

Ogwumike tweeted that same day, "Love this team."

Without being aware of what every professional athlete tweets, do, say, San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard ever do such a thing?

"Even when we were losing, I was never worried," Bone said. "I never doubted the talent on the floor. I never doubted our coaching staff. I knew we just needed time."

Connecticut incorporated seven new players onto its 12-woman roster this season during a 19-day training camp. That included veteran guard Katie Douglas, second-year players Alex Bentley (guard) and Bone (center), and rookies Alyssa Thomas (forward) and Ogwumike.

Those five are the current starters with Thomas filling in for injured guard Allison Hightower (sprained knee).

The Sun lost five of their first six games.

"I think what you saw at the beginning of the season was a team going through growing pains," Bone said. "We had to get everything together on the fly and try to figure it out. When you're talking about the metamorphosis of our team over these past couple of weeks, it's a fun thing. It's a fun thing to be a part of.

"(We) have great veteran leadership in Katie. … Katie is 35. I'm 22. She's right in the thick of things with us."

Kelsey Griffin, Bentley, Cain, Douglas, Faris, Hightower and Ogwumike went to the Chelsea Handler show together in late May. They later mugged it up for a photo that Ogwumike took a la Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars.

Ogwumike tweeted the photo with the hashtag, "#LaFamilia."

"We're learning from each other, and we're all buying into everything," Ogwumike said. "It's just fun. We don't way to say that because we're just winning now. Even if there was a skid, we still like each other, and we're still buying in. We just have a good group of girls."

• Connecticut guard Danielle McCray had successful surgery to repair a torn ligament in her right thumb Thursday and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks. McCray averaged 9.5 minutes in 11 games. She missed last season to a torn Achilles.

n.griffen@theday.com

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