Connecticut Sun miss 26 of their first 31 shots, fall in N.Y.
New York — The Connecticut Sun went 10 minutes, 9 seconds without a field goal during the first half of Friday night's game against the New York Liberty.
The Sun pressed on, like any self-respecting professionals would, and rallied to take the lead after three quarters.
It only postponed what's become a frustrating inevitability for Connecticut: another loss in a lost summer.
The Sun shot a woeful 32.8 percent in a 71-66 loss before 9,125 fans at Madison Square Garden.
Connecticut missed 26 of its first 31 shots. That's a field goal percentage of .161.
"We got into the 20s at halftime and I was happy about that," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "Imagine that. I don't know what to say when we shoot the ball like that, but we've had our fair share of them in these last 20 games."
It was the 14th loss in 17 games for Connecticut (11-20). One more loss eliminates it from postseason contention for the second straight year.
"We're a young team," the Sun's Katie Douglas said. "When you're not making shots, you've got to look to mentally get past that and take what the defense gives you. Take your open shots and be confident, and I feel like young teams often lack confidence when their shots aren't falling.
"It's unfortunate that it's just so contagious. It's not a good look when it does, when the whole team goes ice cold, and it's been like that for several games."
Douglas scored a season-high 26 for Connecticut. Alex Bentley (14 points) was the only other player to score in double figures.
"When we don't hit shots, we tend to lose focus in other areas," Connecticut's Kelsey Bone said. "We haven't mastered how to not to see the ball go through (the net) and stay energetic on defense."
Rookie Chiney Ogwumike missed her second straight game after having an abscessed tooth drained on Tuesday. She's the Sun's leading scorer and rebounder.
Tina Charles had 15 points and 11 rebounds for New York (13-16). Avery Warley-Talbert added 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Connecticut missed 13 straight shots starting late in the first quarter and extending deep into the second.
The Sun's Kelsey Griffin made a jumper with 1:57 left in the first quarter.
Connecticut didn't make another shot until Bentley's 12-foot jumper with 1:47 left in the first half.
"Our focus every timeout from the first timeout through halftime is to get to the paint," Donovan said. "Get to the free throw line. Shots are not falling, (then) get to the rim. Get fouls, and New York fouls. Katie was the only one that really got that going in the last four minutes."
The Liberty didn't shoot much better, so they couldn't put Connecticut away even after taking a 36-25 early in the third quarter.
A Douglas layup, a three-point play by Alyssa Thomas, and a Douglas' 3-pointer cut the Liberty's lead to 38-36 with over five minutes left in the period.
Reserve Danielle McCray's late 3-pointer gave Connecticut a 48-46 lead to take into the fourth quarter.
Thomas made an errant pass that led to a Swin Cash transition layup with over seven minutes left.
Cash followed with two free throws to push the Liberty ahead 57-53. They never trailed again.
The Sun play host to the Washington Mystics on Sunday. Washington (15-15) has won all three meetings and is coached by Mike Thibault, whom the Sun fired after the 2012 season.
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