Sun fall to the Lynx in overtime
Minneapolis - The new-look Connecticut Sun learned a hard lesson Sunday about finishing a team off.
Connecticut led the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx by as many as 16 points, but lost 90-87 in overtime before 9,434 at the Target Center.
The Sun led 60-44 with three minutes, 55 seconds left in the third quarter. They were also ahead, 78-72, with 1:19 left in regulation.
"It's frustrating when you get up by 16 in any game and don't close it out," Connecticut coach Anne Donovan said. "I'm really disappointed that we didn't finish, but I'm proud. I really thought our effort was good, and our attention schematically to what we wanted to do defensively was good.
"We were not aggressive in our first game against New York (a 75-54 home loss) and wanted to change that, and I thought we did."
Lindsay Whalen had 17 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Lynx (2-0). Seimone Augustus also scored 18.
"That's our team, we don't give up," Maya Moore of the Lynx said. "(Whalen) was struggling a bit, Lindsey Moore came in and picked her up, played solid. Then (Whalen) came back in the end and took over in overtime. It's who we are. We always believe in each other, we always know somebody is capable of stepping up. I'm so proud of (Whalen) and the way she played, huge and-one and we never looked back after that."
Rookie Chiney Ogwumike had 25 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three blocks for the Sun (0-2). Fellow rookie Alyssa Thomas had 12 points and eight rebounds and Katie Douglas scored 13.
"Our number one goal coming into the game was to be aggressive," Ogwumike said. "I thought our whole team did a good job of being aggressive. We're learning. We need to learn how to close out games like this. Minnesota has been playing together for a long time."
The Sun were nursing a two-point lead and seemed to catch a break when Whalen took the inbounds pass and turned it over with 8.4 seconds left in overtime.
Moore intentionally fouled with 7.6 seconds remaining as Minnesota had a foul to give.
Douglas had to inbound the ball. But she had to force the pass, as none of her teammates could get open, or she would have been whistled for a five second violation.
Moore intercepted the pass with 6.7 seconds left.
Augustus' jumper tied it with 2.3 seconds remaining to force overtime.
Ogwumike scored the first five points in overtime to give the Sun an 83-78 edge with 3:10 remaining.
Whalen then took over the game. She scored 10 as Minnesota closed out the game with a 12-4 run.
Connecticut had a chance to steal a win as the Lynx were shorthanded. All-Star forward Rebekkah Brunson and top reserves Monica Wright (guard) and Devereaux Peters (forward) were out with knee injuries.
Starting center Janel McCarville injured her ankle with 1:56 left in regulation as she turned the ball over to Ogwumike, who made an uncontested layup to give the Sun a 78-72 lead.
"We obviously came out a different team than we did in our first game versus New York," Douglas said, "and I'm proud of the way we came out and set the tone as far as our mentality on the defensive and offensive ends. We learned from Friday night and changed some things going into tonight.
"We played hard, we're young, we're going to make mistakes but our effort was there tonight for the whole 45 minutes. We just have to execute better down the stretch."
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