In a rough year for the Sun, Tina Charles has been a consistent bright spot on a last place team. Friday though she was nowhere to be found as the Chicago Sky handed the Sun another loss by double figures.
Charles scored only five points on two for 18 shooting.
Charles was hardly alone shooting the ball poorly however. As a team, Connecticut (6-14) shot only 32 percent from the field and only one for 13 (7 percent) from behind the arc.
Sun Coach Anne Donovan, visibly dejected in her post-game press conference, said this poor shooting hurt the team on defense as well as offense.
“When we don’t knock shots down we lose our focus defensively. So you get [Courtney] Vandersloot into the lane when you’re not thinking about your defense,” Donovan said, “Prince gets wide open jump shots when you’re thinking about your own missed shot.”
Chicago (14-7) was efficient in capitalizing on Connecticut’s defensive lapses.
They opened up a double digit lead midway through the first quarter and never trailed in the game. They led by 15 at the half and opened up a 22 point lead in the fourth quarter before Connecticut cut into the lead in garbage time to make the final 77-61.
The Chicago onslaught was lead by Epiphanny Prince and Elena Delle Donne who had 23 and 19 points respectively.
It was Sylvia Fowles though that stared for the Sky. Going up against Charles she posted a double-double and limited Charles to her worst offensive performance of the season.
As a team the Sky shot 44 percent from the field and 47 percent from three point range.
“Give Chicago a lot of credit they’re a very talented team,” Sun forward Kelsey Griffin said, but didn’t want to use that as an excuse.
“If you’re going to give yourself some slack because they have so much talent then you’re not approaching the game the right way,” she said. “You can control things like rebounding and defense we need to do that regardless of what’s going on offensively.”
Letting their defense slip has been an issue for the Sun all season and Donovan showed her frustration with that after the game.
“I really felt like this was gonna be a great game for us. I really felt that we were ready but clearly I was not right,” she said in an aggravated manner.
She wasn’t even willing to give a pass to her star player whom has carried the Sun through most of their games.
“Tina was bound to have a night like this where she couldn’t carry us it’s gonna happen to superstars,” she said.
But she added, “I think defensively she could have stepped up and been a lot more focused than she was.”
Now the Sun must recharge for a road game against Washington, the team they now trail by 2.5 games for the fourth and final playoff spot. Charles has said all season, “It’s not how you start it’s how you finish.”
With over a month left in the regular season there is still plenty of basketball to be played. However, if the Sun are serious about returning to the post season someone else has to step up on a Charles off night.
The team can say the finish is more important than the start, but with the finish just over the horizon Connecticut must toughen up mentally and find a way to win on nights where things don’t go their way.