Sun finds a sense of urgency in win
San Antonio — Chiney Ogwumike had 24 points and 12 rebounds and the Connecticut Sun fended off a late rally to beat the San Antonio Stars 89-79 on Friday night.
It was Ogwumike's 12th double-double of her rookie season. Alyssa Thomas and Alex Bentley had 18 points each and Renee Montgomery added 11 for Connecticut (11-17), which snapped a four-game skid and moved to within a game of fourth-place New York for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Kayla McBride scored 27 points, Danielle Adams had 15 points and Danielle Robinson 10 for San Antonio, which has lost six of eight.
"I thought we came out with a sense of urgency that we have lacked sometimes this season," Connecticut coach Anne Donovan said. "... When Chiney plays like that, she's unstoppable. They double-teamed (Kelsey) Bone early on and she did a great job finding the open man and passing out (of the double-team). And Chiney, she was just strong tonight. Finished strong. Went strong to the basket."
The Stars (13-15) remained a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Sparks (12-15) for third place in the Western Conference.
After trailing by as many as 20 points in the second half, 3-pointers by Becky Hammon and Adams pulled San Antonio within 78-69 with 2:46 remaining.
McBride completed a three-point play to pull the Stars within 79-74 with 1:45 remaining, but Thomas and Montgomery helped seal the victory for the Sun.
Connecticut went 5 for 12 on 3-pointers, making all of them in the first half on nine attempts.
Thomas opened the game 4-for-5 shooting, including a 3-pointer that sparked a 19-2 run bridging the first and second quarters.
Kelsey Griffin's 3-pointer gave the Sun a 27-12 lead with 8:28 remaining in the first half.
After Robinson hit a 19-foot jumper on the wing with 2 minutes left in the first quarter, the Stars did not score again until Kayla Alexander pushed her way in for a layup with 7:28 remaining in the first half. Following a missed 3-pointer by Montgomery, Shenise Johnson made a 16-foot jumper to cut Connecticut's lead to 27-16 with 7 minutes left in the first half.
The Sun would go on another run, though, outscoring the Stars 16-6 with Ogwumike and Montgomery combining to score all but two points in the run.
"Our backs are against the wall. You see where we are in the (Eastern Conference standings) and we are trying to scratch to get to the playoffs," Ogwumike said. "I think a lot of people were communicating. Defense is about communication, and we had a lot of people talking not only on the court, but off the court."
In honor of breast cancer awareness week, the Stars wore pink jerseys, played on a pink court and introduced breast cancer survivors before introducing its starting lineup.
San Antonio coach Dan Hughes, who was warned by official Lauren Holtkamp with a minute remaining in the opening period, picked up a technical foul late in the third. After Robinson was whistled for a block with 3:43 left in the third, Hughes stormed onto the court in protest.
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