The Connecticut Sun beat the Seattle Storm by a mere two points in the last few seconds of the game Sunday night at KeyArena in Seattle. The final score was Connecticut 60 to Storm 58. The Sun’s 60 points were a season low (previously 61 at Indiana).
Sun Head Coach Mike Thibault told us post-game, “We won an ugly basketball game. Their defense [ Storm] makes it ugly some nights. They make you have to work. We shot the ball so badly it’s hard to believe we won. But we forced a bunch of turnovers. They don’t turn the ball over like that when Sue [Bird] plays so that has a lot to do with it, but we’ll take the win.”
Bird was out with a strained left hip flexor; Lauren Jackson sat on the bench with a strained hamstring; and Alysha Clark was ill with the flu. The Storm dropped to 0-5 this season without Sue Bird. In those five games, the Storm has averaged 21.4 turnovers as compared to 16.2 turnovers in all other games.
During the game on Sunday, the Storm’s Camille Little grabbed her 1,000th career rebound during the third quarter and Tanisha Wright tied her season high with eight assists.
Thibault said he understood that Jackson and Bird sitting out helped his team win. “Sometimes you might relax a little bit, but we know how good their [Storm’s] other players are. Katie Smith, Tanisha [Wright] and all those guys, they’ve won championships. They know how to win. I respect a lot of what they’ve done. Some of the onus is on us to make shots we’ve been making, too, and we just didn’t make them.
Sun Guard Renee Montgomery added, “It was a barn-burner. It was a tough game because Seattle executes very well on offense so you know if you mess up, they’re going to make you pay for it. That’s the toughest part about playing them.”
Sun Center Tina Charles said, “It was one of the ugliest games I’ve played in my entire life. Just the turnovers they had, the turnovers we had. There was lot of things we tried to do in the huddle, but weren’t able execute it coming out. It was really frustrating, especially when you’re a No. 1 team and you’re going into the playoffs. You don’t want to have these lapses going into the playoffs. Everything needs to be smooth sailing. As far as execution goes, we need to be better.”
With Sunday’s loss, the Storm’s WNBA-record streak of 10 consecutive non-losing seasons (2002-2011) was snapped. Alternately, the Sun won in Seattle for the first time since 2008. The teams split the season series for the fourth consecutive year.
The Seattle Storm hosts Chicago at the Key this Tuesday, September 18 during Breast Health Awareness Night (7:00pm).