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Sun hit the road

By Ned Griffen

Publication: The Day

Published July 05. 2014 4:00AM
Jessica Hill/AP photo
Katie Douglas of the Sun waits to check back in during a game against the Stars on Tuesday at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Connecticut just 1-6 away from Mohegan Sun Arena

Mohegan - The Connecticut Sun play at the Tulsa Shock tonight.

There's no telling which Sun team will show up at the BOK Center (8 p.m., CPTV Sports).

Connecticut (8-10) is on a four-game losing streak. It had won six straight prior to the losing streak. It lost six of its first eight before that winning streak.

The road has owned the Sun this season as they're 1-6. Nine of their next 11 games will be on the road.

Such futility certainly makes Connecticut's three-game road trip seem daunting, but this WNBA season has been all about uncertainty. Only three of the 12 teams have winning records. The Sun are one of eight teams with a losing record.

Connecticut has been as confounding as any team, too. The good - it's the only team to beat the two conference leaders, the Atlanta Dream and Phoenix Mercury.

The bad - the Sun missed 11 first-half layups during Tuesday's home loss to the San Antonio Stars (74-71). They also fell behind 12-0 and 19-4 in the first quarter in Thursday's home loss to Tulsa (96-83).

"We watched their game at New York (on Tuesday), and New York just took it right at them (and won, 90-74)," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "(New York) attacked the paint; put them on their heels right from the jump. That's what our game plan was to do and unfortunately, that's what they did to us."

Rookie Odyssey Sims scored 30 for the Shock (7-10). Skylar Diggins added 20 points.

Connecticut, to its credit, rallied back and took a one-point lead in both the second and third quarters.

Those leads lasted a combined 32 seconds for the Sun.

"We scratched and clawed," Donovan said. "We came back a couple of times and tied the game, but little things, like box outs - actually it's not a little thing when you end up giving up 17 (offensive rebounds), it ends up being a huge thing - but it's about focus. We talked about how this was the number one team, right up there one or two, in offensive boards, and (Tulsa center) Courtney Paris is a load. She works her butt off for those boards. We have to do a better job."

The Shock ransacked Connecticut on the boards, 42-27. That allowed them to earn a 25-9 advantage on second-chance points.

Not good.

The Sun's offense also continued to go out of commission for long stretches, in particular what was a lost first quarter. They missed 13 of their first 15 shots, including five layups.

Connecticut had just four points in the first 8 minutes and 14 seconds.

"I said postgame and during the game, we have to do a better job - the five starters - of coming in ready to play," Sun veteran Katie Douglas said. "We've dug ourselves holes. And any time you dig yourself a hole in the WNBA, you're going to exert a lot of energy and effort to come back and we're not that good, to be honest, to be digging ourselves a hole against good teams right now. "

n.griffen@theday.com

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