A mix of poor defense and offensive struggles led to another Seattle loss Tuesday.
Connecticut took advantage, shooting 53 percent from the field in an 86-63 victory at KeyArena. The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Sun (10-13).
The Storm (9-15) has lost five of its past seven games.
“Frustrating is the only thing I can think of,” said Storm forward Camille Little, who led her team with 14 points.
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Sun guard Alex Bentley scored 16 of her 22 points in the first half in pacing Connecticut to a 39-30 halftime lead.
Bentley opened the game shooting 5 for 5 from the field. Storm guard Sue Bird couldn’t figure out how to defend the second-year guard without fouling, picking up three in the opening half.
Meanwhile, Seattle’s offense stalled in the second quarter, as the Storm opened the quarter shooting 1 of 7 from the field. Crystal Langhorne ended a near five-minute scoring drought with a turnaround jumper with 3:58 left in the quarter. She had six of the Storm’s eight points in the quarter.
“It was really rough on both sides of the floor,” said Langhorne, who finished with 11 points and six rebounds. “Sometimes we go through slumps and we can pick it back up. We just couldn’t get it going.”
Connecticut’s sturdy defense kept Seattle from finding a way back into the game in the second half. A layin by Little with 7:24 left inched the Storm within 64-53.
But on defense, Langhorne couldn’t stop forward Kelsey Bone from muscling in a short jumper, nixing the Storm’s last attempt to cut the deficit to single digits.
Bone, playing off the bench for the first time since May, finished with 16 points. Rookie forward Chiney Ogwumike added 14 points with 10 rebounds to help the Sun outrebound the Storm 41-24 overall, limiting the home team to six offensive rebounds in the game.
“Watching us play … we have historically been a tenacious defensive team,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “To do all of that, you have to have the ability to practice. We haven’t had that and we’re seeing that play out on the floor. … We’ve got to get back to our roots.”
Agler couldn’t counter the defensive lapses Tuesday with a go-to offensive jolt from the bench.
Forward Shekinna Stricklen missed the game due to a strained neck suffered Sunday in Minnesota. Prior to the injury, Stricklen scored a season-high 19 points in leading Seattle to a road win in San Antonio last Friday.
Seattle’s next game isn’t until July 22 when it hosts Phoenix after the WNBA All-Star break. The Storm will reconvene Sunday for its first practice in preparing for the final part of league play.
“I don’t think today is the end of the world,” said Bird, whose team plays eight of its final 10 games at KeyArena. “We only have 10 games left while other teams have 14 or 15 and we’re continually not helping ourselves. That’s disappointing. Hopefully this break will be good for us to rest our bodies and our minds a little bit, too, and come back refreshed and finish strong.”
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @JaydaEvans.