In Breanna Stewart’s first WNBA game in Connecticut, the Storm fell on a last-second tap-in by Alyssa Thomas that gave the Sun a 77-76 victory on Friday night.
UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas flipped in a missed shot with six-tenths of a second remaining to give the Connecticut Sun a 77-76 victory over the Seattle Storm on Friday night and ruin top draft pick Breanna Stewart’s homecoming.
“I thought we had plenty of opportunities to close this game,” Seattle coach Jenny Boucek said. “Give them credit. They made some big plays down the stretch.”
Jewell Loyd’s three-point shot with 41.6 seconds left gave Seattle (3-6) a 76-73 lead.
If the Storm had made a defensive stop it might have been able to run out the clock.
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Instead, Thomas converted both ends of a two-shot foul with 33.4 seconds left. After Sue Bird missed a shot, Connecticut (2-7) rebounded and called a timeout.
That led to Thomas’ game-winning shot.
Seattle led 38-28 at halftime, 47-37 midway through the third and 60-54 early in the fourth.
“There’s always going to be runs in a game,” Boucek said.
“I never felt like we lost control. We didn’t finish it. We were one play away – one defensive stop. They got a foul call. Then they got an offensive rebound.”
Overall, the Sun snared 12 offensive rebounds, which gave Connecticut eight second-chance points.
“That’s one of their strengths,” Boucek said. “They have a lot of people that go (to the glass) often and hard. We knew that, but it’s still easier said than done.
“We didn’t get it done tonight the way that they needed to.”
Seattle didn’t get it done on the offensive end, grabbing only five offensive rebounds.
Bird led Seattle with a season-high 24 points while Crystal Langhorne added 10.
Stewart, the former UConn star, had 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting in her first game back in Connecticut.
Morgan Tuck paced Connecticut with 20 points while Thomas chipped in 15.
Bird shot 70 percent (7 for 10) in the first half, which was a major reason Seattle led at intermission.
But the Sun’s ability to drive to the basket led to plenty of fouls. Connecticut capitalized by converting 79.2 percent (19 for 24) at the stripe, including 6 of 7 in the last 8:37.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis came off the bench to score five points late in the fourth that enabled the Storm to maintain its lead.
When Bird stole the ball and fed Alysha Clark for a layup, Seattle led 73-68 with 3:05 left.
The loss dropped Seattle’s road record to 7-31 over the last three seasons.
“It’s tough to win on the road,” Boucek said.
“It takes a lot of mental and physical toughness, and it’s tough to close out games on the road.”