Even the best teams sometimes get caught looking ahead.
Coming off one of their worst losses of the season, the Connecticut Sun look to keep the inside track to claiming one of the top two seeds for the WNBA playoffs Sunday when they try beat the Aces in Las Vegas for the second time this year.
The Sun (16-7) dropped into a tie with the Washington Mystics for the league’s best overall record after getting routed 89-57 at Minnesota on Friday night. Connecticut fell behind 10-4 early and never recovered as its seven-game winning streak came to an end – during one stretch of the second quarter, the Sun missed 10 shots and committed 10 turnovers while the Lynx went on a 17-0 tear and opened a 29-point halftime lead.
“They took us behind the woodshed from start to finish,” Sun coach Curt Miller said post-game per the Sun’s official Twitter feed. “I took ownership in there. We got outplayed and they were more physical, and their intensity from the beginning was impressive, but I also got outcoached.”
Bria Holmes was the only Sun player to finish in double figures, scoring 10 points off the bench. Connecticut committed 20 turnovers, shot 30.9 percent, scored a season low in points, and was only 5 of 23 from 3-point range. About the only positive Miller could take from the game was that no starter logged more than 22 minutes as they combined for 11 of 28 shooting.
Las Vegas (15-9) is also stewing as it missed an opportunity to draw closer to Connecticut and Washington on Friday night following an 87-84 home loss to Chicago. The Aces, who are percentage points behind the Los Angeles Sparks for third and 1 ½ games behind the Sun and Mystics for the top spot, overcame a 13-point first-quarter deficit but could not make winning plays late as they committed three turnovers in the final 3:18.
The slow start, though, clearly irked Aces coach Bill Laimbeer as his team also wasted All-Star Liz Cambage’s best performance of the season as she totaled 28 points and 11 rebounds. Her starting teammates, though, were a combined 10 for 39 from the field.
“I can’t come out every two out of three games and be down double digits in the first quarter because we just don’t have it,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “That’s unacceptable, and it can’t happen any longer. … I may stay the course. I don’t know, but something has to (happen) differently. It’s too frustrating, and we have to try something different.”
Kayla McBride will try to regain her shooting touch after missing all six of her 3-point attempts Friday night. The Aces guard has totaled 13 points on 5-of-22 shooting in her last three games after totaling 40 in the previous two while hitting 7 of 12 from 3-point range.
Connecticut recorded an 80-74 win at Mandalay Bay Events Center on June 2, closing the game on a 9-2 tear over the final 4:06. Jonquel Jones had four points in that spurt as she finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Courtney Williams paced the Sun with 19 points.
Cambage had 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench while A’ja Wilson, who continues to be sidelined with a sprained ankle, scored a team-high 19 for Las Vegas. The Aces have not dropped three straight at home since moving from San Antonio before the start of last year.
(Liz Cambage photo courtesy WNBA official Twitter account)