Same old problem for the Sun

Maya Moore of the Lynx shoots over Sun defenders Kelsey Bone (14), Alyssa Thomas (25) and Katie Douglas during Sunday's WNBA game at Mohegan Sun Arena. Moore, the former UConn star, scored 17 points and had seven rebounds and four assists as the Lynx won 76-65.

Montville - The best crowd the Connecticut Sun had all season got to see a problem that's become all too familiar to both the franchise and their diehard fans.

Another game, another offensive struggle for the Sun. They shot an abysmal 32.9-percent and lost to old friends Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and the rest of the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx, 76-65, before 8,019 at Mohegan Sun Arena.

It was the 10th loss in 12 games for Connecticut (10-16). It's last in the Eastern Conference and a game behind the fourth-place New York Liberty.

The Sun spent the majority of the game shooting under 30-percent until a late surge.

No one struggled more than Katie Douglas. She missed 12 of 16 shots and scored 10, eight days after playing in the WNBA All-Star game.

"I'm obviously disappointed in myself because they rely on me to knock down the shots that I got," Douglas said. "I couldn't knock them down. Then it became kind of contagious. I think we've seen that a couple of times this year where everybody is off."

Starter Alex Bentley missed eight of 11 shots and scored nine.

Reserve Renee Montgomery missed 7 of 9 shots for eight points with seven assists.

"We were playing extremely hard, but it's tough when you put yourself in that position that you get some stops, then you can't convert on the other end," Douglas said. "I liked the shots that we were getting. I liked our movement. I liked our execution. It's just about finishing it off and making baskets."

Kelsey Bone had a team-high 15 points with nine rebounds for the Sun and rookie Alyssa Thomas had eight points and nine rebounds. Rookie Chiney Ogwumike added 11 points.

Moore had 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists and Whalen scored 11 for the Lynx (20-6), which led for all but 47 seconds.

Minnesota shot 48.4-percent, so it was remarkable that it didn't squish the Sun.

Connecticut bucked the statistical odds, however, and rallied back after trailing by as much as 57-40 with less than a minute left in the third quarter.

A three-point play by Bone and a Bentley 3-pointer cut the Sun's deficit to 65-57 with 4 minutes, 42 seconds left in the game.

Ogwumike missed an open jumper on Connecticut's next possession.

Moore made two free throws on the other end to push the Lynx's lead to 67-57.

Bone followed with a missed layup.

"(Minnesota) is one of the best teams in the league," Bone said. "Tonight, it really came down to shots falling. I think if we could have hit a couple of more outside jumpers and force them to play a little more defense, you'd see a different ball game."

Douglas made a 3-pointer with over a minute left to cut Connecticut's deficit to 72-65.

Whalen answered with pull-up jumper.

"I was pleased tonight that we didn't lose our focus defensively," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "Too often in our past we have not knocked shots down and the game gets away from us. … They still fought."

Time is running out for Connecticut, however. It has just eight games left, and the next three are on the road.

Note that the Sun are tied with Tulsa for the league's worst road record (3-10).

It's nail-biting time.

"I would say so," Douglas said. "I would say it's more gut-check time. We need to pack our same level of effort and energy and focus. It was definitely there the entire night.

"For whatever reason, our shots weren't going down tonight."

n.griffen@theday.com

Chiney Ogwumike of the Sun (13) shoots over Janel McCarville of the Lynx during Sunday's WNBA game at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Lynx won 76-65.
Chiney Ogwumike of the Sun (13) shoots over Janel McCarville of the Lynx during Sunday's WNBA game at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Lynx won 76-65.

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