Tulsa dominates, hands Connecticut fourth straight loss

Chiney Ogwumike of the Connecticut Sun, left, beats Tulsa's Glory Johnson to a rebound in the first half of Thursday's WNBA game at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Shock won the game 96-83, the Sun's fourth straight loss.

Mohegan — The Connecticut Sun's woes began from the opening tip Thursday night as the Tulsa Shock scored the game's first 12 points.

Tulsa rookie Odyssey Sims than began torturing the Sun defense.

Connecticut found a way to go ahead early in the third quarter. No matter, as it proceeded to get bludgeoned on the boards and give up second-chance points.

Put it all together and you have the Sun's fourth straight loss, 96-83, before 5,396 fans at Mohegan Sun Arena.

There were few worse ways for Connecticut (8-10) to play its last home game before starting its endless summer road tour this holiday weekend.

The Sun got run down, 19-4, with over a minute left in the first quarter. They managed to take the lead in the second half, only to fall back behind by as much as 88-69 with over four minutes left in the game.

"(Tulsa) just got blasted in New York (90-74 on Tuesday)," the Sun's Kelsey Bone said. "They came out and they were a little more hungry than us and I think that's been the biggest thing these last couple of games."

OK, then how does a team regain said hunger?

"I think it's a gut check," Bone said. "It's unacceptable that it happens at home with the next nine of how many ever (games) on the road. We don't get any help coming up. It's one of those things that all of us have to look at each other in the face and look ourselves in the face and decide if we're going to do it or if we're not."

Sims had her best game as a pro, as she couldn't be defended at points other than throwing a comforter over her. She made 11 of 17 shots for 30 points.

Skylar Diggins, the league's second-leading scorer, had 20 points for Tulsa (7-10).

The Shock also pillaged Connecticut in the paint. They had a 42-27 edge, including 17 offensive rebounds.

Tulsa had a 25-9 advantage on second-chance points.

"I hear they got a lot (of second chances)," Sun rookie Chiney Ogwumike said, who wisely hadn't looked at a stat sheet yet when asked about the Shock's second-chance points.

"I think because their guards were going off, Sims and Diggins, I think that it really put pressure on us to help out and let their posts get free."

Courtney Paris had 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Shock and Glory Johnson added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Rookie Alyssa Thomas was one of the few offensive bright spots for Connecticut thanks to her ability to get to the rim. She made 8 of 10 shots and scored 24 points with four steals.

Katie Douglas made five 3-pointers and had 21 points for the Sun.

Ogwumike had 10 points and 10 rebounds and Bone added 10 points and seven rebounds.

The Sun play at Tulsa on Saturday and nine of their next 11 games on the road. Connecticut is 1-6 on the road.

"We've just got to get on the road now and fix it," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "I don't think (tonight) was about effort. I think it's about focus. I think it's about when we make mistakes we lose our focus. We get down. We're a young team that still gets down when we make mistakes."

n.griffen@theday.com

Tulsa's Angel Goodrich, right, gets a shot off against Connecticut's Katie Douglas during the first half of Thursday's WNBA game at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Tulsa's Angel Goodrich, right, gets a shot off against Connecticut's Katie Douglas during the first half of Thursday's WNBA game at Mohegan Sun Arena.

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