Seattle faded after a solid first quarter, losing 79-58 to Connecticut on Tuesday night at KeyArena.
The Storm faded after a solid first quarter, losing 79-58 to Connecticut on Tuesday night at KeyArena.
Forward Jenna O’Hea sparked Seattle early, picking up three assists to help the Storm build a 13-7 lead. But once Connecticut went to its bench, Seattle couldn’t keep the offense going.
Seattle was 3 of 10 from the field with seven turnovers in the second quarter. Connecticut shot 47.4 percent from the field in the second quarter, reserves Kayla Pedersen and Chelsea Gray combining for seven points, four rebounds and three assists.
The Sun outscored the Storm, 24-11, in the second quarter to close the opening half up 41-30.
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“Our turnovers were horrible,” said Storm coach Jenny Boucek, whose team’s 22 total turnovers were converted into 32 points by Connecticut. “We got stagnant and against teams that pressure you when you get stagnant, it gets them more aggressive. And when you get tentative, they smell blood and it becomes a cycle.”
Gray, who missed the 2014 season due to a knee injury, led four Sun players in double figures with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting in 17 minutes.
Forward Crystal Langhorne, who was scoreless in the second half, led the Storm with 13 points. O’Hea had a team-high six assists.
Storm guard Sue Bird didn’t play the final 3:57 of the second quarter. She was stripped by Sun guard Alex Bentley and took an apparent hit to the back of her head, dropping to the court.
“It felt like a knee,” said Bird of the incident. “It hurt but I was able to play in the second half. We’ll check it out and see what’s up.”
Connecticut improved its win streak to four games, breaking a tie with Washington (3-1) atop the Eastern Conference standings. The Mystics were idle Tuesday.
While just five games into a 34-game season, many didn’t predict Connecticut to play well after Chiney Ogwumike and Allison Hightower suffered season-ending knee injuries. Seattle (2-3), however, is meeting expectations.
First-year Storm general manager Alisha Valavanis began her long-term rebuild by trading Camille Little and Shekinna Stricklen to Connecticut for guard Renee Montgomery and the No. 3 overall pick in April’s draft, which became three-point specialist Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.
The trade was in January, before underclassmen Jewell Loyd and Amanda Zahui B. used a WNBA age exemption to enter the draft early. Seattle already owned the No. 1 overall pick.
Little and Stricklen received loud cheers from the KeyArena crowd when introduced in their first and only visit of the season. Little had 12 points and five rebounds while Stricklen was scoreless in 18 minutes off the bench.
• Storm signees Angel Goodrich and Markeisha Gatling didn’t dress for Tuesday’s game. Both were picked up off waivers June 6 and haven’t had quality practice time with the team due to the three-game trip. The Storm has three practice days scheduled before Sunday’s game against Phoenix at KeyArena.