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Too tall an order

Mohegan - Okay, it was bad enough that the Connecticut Sun caught the Chicago Sky after they had - gasp - lost two in a row.

Compounding matters is that Chicago is a matchup nightmare for the Sun. It has the WNBA's biggest frontline, including a 6-foot-5 forward (Elena Delle Donne), which is among the league 3-point leaders.

All that written, Connecticut sure didn't make things any easier on itself during a 77-61 loss to Sky. The Sun lacked a consistent effort, obvious to any of the 6,086 who showed up at Mohegan Sun Arena.

"I think our bad habits, we allow a team to get a run, and we don't respond," Sun Mistie Bass said. "I think that's our biggest problem. Kudos to them for taking advantage of that, but I just feel like we broke down."

Connecticut trailed the entire game. It shot a meager 32.1 percent from the floor.

The Eastern Conference-leading Sky blocked four shots in the first nine minutes.

Here's how bad it got for the Sun - Chicago's terrifying trio of Elena Delle Donne, Sylvia Fowles and Epiphanny Prince outscored them through three quarters, 47-43.

"I've said this before, and they've heard this before, but when we don't knock shots down, we lose our focus defensively," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "So you get (Courtney) Vandersloot into the lane when you're not thinking about your defense. You're not showing on a screen and Epiphanny Prince gets wide-open jump shots when you're thinking about your own missed shot. That, really, is where it lies."

Prince scored a game-high 23 points for the Sky (14-7) and Delle Donne had 19 points and nine rebounds. Fowles added 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.

Allison Hightower scored a team-high 13 for Connecticut (6-14), the unhappy owners of the league's worst record. Kelsey Griffin added 12 points and seven rebounds for the Sun.

Connecticut's Tina Charles struggled mightily. She missed 16 of 18 shots and finished with five points and 10 rebounds.

"They're great," Charles said of the Sky. "To be honest with you, I think usually every team that comes in and plays against us, they go off against us.

"I think it's something that people have noticed in our tactics, and it's something that we have to change personally in how we go about things on the court."

Believe it or not, the Sun only trailed 27-23 with over three minutes left in the first half.

Chicago proceeded to bring the pain. Prince nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to start a 12-0 run.

Vandersloot concluded the run with back-to-back layups to push Chicago ahead, 39-23.

The Sun shot 26.7 percent in the first half.

"We have a tendency to break down when our offense isn't going well," Bass said, "and we don't go back and play great defense because we know offense isn't working. We just completely shut down."

The third quarter had fans groaning as the Sky continued to wail away on Connecticut. Delle Donne's back-to-back 3-pointers pushed Chicago's lead to 60-39 with two minutes left in the period. She scored 11 in that quarter alone.

Prince's jumper gave the Sky a 22-point lead (73-51) with over four minutes remaining in the game.

"Defensively we just have to bear down and focus," Bass said. "Our defense wasn't there. Our post defense wasn't as great as it should've been, and I can say that. The truth is the truth. You guys see it as well as we do that we lacked tonight."

n.griffen@theday.com

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