With 1:40 left in the third quarter, it looked like Connecticut’s already bleak season was about to go up in flames.
Down by 16 points against the Indiana Fever, the Sun were on their way to a 4-13 start at the season’s halfway point.
“It wasn’t until you look up at the scoreboard and it’s 50-34, ” Mistie Bass said, “that’s when you’re like, ‘Oh, seriously? Not again.'”
But the Sun, without Kara Lawson – who continues to sit out due to a knee injury – overcame the deficit and improved to 5-12 with a 70-64 win over the Fever on Thursday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
There was a sense of relief around the Sun and first-year head coach Anne Donovan after the win. Instead of having the final nail hammered into the coffin that contained the 2013 season, the Sun have a feeling of optimism. Maybe this is the win that propels them to new heights in the second half of the season.
“We’re not looking back,” Donovan said. “This is the second half of the season. We’re not looking back to what didn’t happen. There’s a lot of reasons for what didn’t happen in the first half of the season. Now we have to take this win, take it to New York and get the second [win in a row].”
Connecticut got key contributions off the bench from Bass and rookie guard Kelly Faris. Faris did not have a big night on the stat sheet – she had three points, three rebounds and two assists – but her hustle plays and key passes were a big part of Connecticut’s comeback, and she was part of a five-player squad that played the majority of the fourth quarter together.
Faris, who on Wednesday was at the White House with her teammates from UConn’s national championship team, made what Donovan called the biggest play of the game when she found Allison Hightower heading towards the hoop and set her up with a risky over the top pass for a bucket that cut into Indiana’s lead and gave Connecticut some much-needed momentum.
“I was glad she caught it,” Faris said. “That would have been a bad turnover on my side.”
Donovan was pleased with the way her team buckled down and was able to grind out a result, but she admitted that without Lawson, the Sun are missing an important piece of the puzzle, something they need to fix as they look to begin their first win streak of the year in New York on Saturday.
“Passion is something we need to have. We need to play with fire,” Donovan said. “[Lawson] brings that to this team. She brings that fire, and we don’t have that right now. We can’t keep looking at the next person and say, ‘Who’s gonna bring it?’ Someone has to bring it.”
For more on the Sun, check out our 2013 Connecticut Sun season storystream.