Sunday, July 12, 2009


Sun lose to Shock in overtime, 79-77

Norwich Bulletin
Posted Jul 11, 2009 @ 10:53 PM

Mohegan, Conn. —

The final missed shot of many left Lindsay Whalen’s hand Saturday night, floated toward the rim and dropped far short, never having a chance of saving of the Connecticut Sun.

They did little to help themselves anyway.

Katie Smith hit a baseline jumper with 6.3 seconds to play in overtime, and the Detroit Shock rallied past a listless Connecticut team for a 79-77 victory Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena, extending the Sun’s frustratingly inconsistent start to the season.

Up by as many as seven points in the fourth quarter and five with 5:29 to play, Connecticut (5-6) failed to hit a basket for the rest of regulation, scoring just four points in that span. The Sun’s inability to finish extended into the extra periods, where they didn’t to hit a field goal in the final minute en route to a third loss in four games.

Asjha Jones scored 23 points and Whalen added 20, but Connecticut shot just 34.2 percent from the field and lost the rebounding battle badly, 49-35. The Sun also made just 22-of-33 free throws.

Smith scored 25 and reserves Alexis Hornbuckle and Kara Braxton (13 rebounds) added 11 and 14 for last-place Detroit (3-7), which was playing without star Deanna Nolan, who injured her right hamstring in last Sunday’s loss to Connecticut

Breathing room
Never separated by more than four points over the middle two periods, the Sun appeared to find some breathing room with help from Detroit. Whalen opened the period with a jump shot and Tan White (seven points) drew a shooting foul to go to the line.

But during a timeout with 8:12 to play, both Rick Mahorn and one of his assistants drew technical fouls for comments to the officials, and suddenly, after a pair of Whalen and White foul shots, Connecticut had its biggest lead of the game, 56-49.

Smith (9-for-17 from the floor) alone kept Detroit close, scoring its next seven points, to draw within two. But the Sun again were able to keep momentum when the Shock were assessed their fourth technical — this to Cheryl Ford for complaining to the officials — and Jones followed with a jumper from the elbow for a 63-58 lead with 5:29 to play.

The Sun couldn’t provide a finishing blow, though. With Connecticut lifeless from the field, Detroit crept back behind a Smith jumper, two Braxton free throws and two more fouls shots from Smith with 41.8 to play.

Now up 65-64 with 19.3 to play, the Sun had a chance to perhaps ice it, but threw it away when Erin Phillips’ (13 points) inbound pass was intercepted by Taj McWilliams, who was then fouled from behind by Jones, the pass’ intended target.

Tie game
McWilliams hit both free throws to put Detroit ahead, 66-65, and on the Sun’s next possession, Whalen missed an open lay-up before Jones fouled McWilliams on the rebound. But McWilliams made just one of two foul shots, and on the ensuing sequence, White was fouled on a jump shot with two seconds to play. She hit both to tie the game, and Smith’s corner jumper at the buzzer went long.

Though never trailing by more than three points, the Sun played catch-up in overtime before taking their first lead in the final minute, 77-76 on a Jones free throw.

Braxton followed with her own to tie it, and the Shock won a jump ball with 25.6 seconds left to gain possession. That set up Smith, who hit a contested jumper from the right baseline for the game-winner.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: The field goal percentage by both teams were awful. They each shot around 30% from the field. The Shock were getting two, three and four offensive rebounds. Not so with the Sun. The Sun was shooting from outside and missing with no one near the basket to make a rebound. You can't win doing that. The facts are the Connecticut Sun did not deserve to win. What was the attendance? It looked like the attendance was less than 6,000. What do you think?

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