Mystics cool off the Sun
Washington - Connecticut's six-game winning streak is history, but not before a little late-game drama at the Verizon Center on Friday night.
The Sun, who trailed 58-45 with five minutes remaining, pulled to within four in the final seconds before the Washington Mystics held on for a 69-63 WNBA victory before 7,119.
Emma Meesseman led the Mystics (7-9) with a career-high 22 points and 13 rebounds while shooting 79 percent from the floor (11 of 14).
"We didn't play very well tonight and they know that," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "I just don't think as a team we came out hungry. I don't think our want-to was where it had be.
"On the road you have to be ready for a different intensity. Some of the mistakes we made tonight were youthful mistakes."
Katie Douglas led the Sun (8-7) with 18 points while Alex Bentley had 11 and rookie Chiney Ogwumike added 10 to extend her streak of double-digit scoring games to 14.
"It was a good experience for this young team," Douglas said about Connecticut's win streak. "All good things come to an end. With the schedule we have now, we definitely have to be focused."
Douglas began the comeback with a 3-pointer and Bentley knocked down a jumper following a turnover to pull Connecticut with 58-50. Bentley hit a 3-pointer with 23.6 seconds to pull the Sun within 66-61 and they trailed 67-63 moments later until a pair of free throws by Washington's Ivory Latta with 4.9 seconds remaining iced the game.
"That was interesting," Washington coach Mike Thibault said. "Obviously a very badly needed win at home. We need to start establishing a little bit more home court presence and advantage. It's a really good win. I mean they've been on a role ... six in a row ... and we're shorthanded. The players came out and played the second half."
The Sun survived an early hot streak by the Mystics, who made their first seven shots and led early 14-2.
But Connecticut responded with a 15-1 run of its own and took a 17-15 lead when Kelsey Griffin made a pair of free throws.
The Sun led 33-31 at halftime, but then struggled in the third quarter, making just 5 of 17 shots while getting outscored 23-10. Meesseman (10 points) and rookie Bria Hartley of UConn (nine points) provided most of the offense as the Mystics moved out to a 54-43 lead. Bartley and Kia Vaughn finished with 12 points apiece.
Washington opened the second half with a 17-4 run, building a 48-37 edge midway through the third quarter. By the end of that quarter, Meesseman - averaging 8.1 points and 6.1 rebounds this season - had a career-high 18 with 11 rebounds.
"Our rotations were not sharp," Donovan said. "(Meesseman) was able to pick-and-pop. She did a great job tonight, even down low. She's a crafty veteran."
• Thomas, a three-time ACC Player of the Year at Maryland, was named ACC Female Athlete of the Year for the 2013-14 academic year. Thomas became only the second player in conference history to earn ACC Player of the Year honors in women's basketball three times and led the Terrapins to the 2014 NCAA Final Four. She averaged 19.0 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. The Sun drafted Thomas with the No. 4 overall pick in April's WNBA Draft.
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