Stricklen and Sun bench lead Connecticut to last second 67-66 win over Seattle
UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The Connecticut Sun defeated the Seattle Storm 67-66 before a crowd of 6,157 at Mohegan Sun Arena. Shekinna Stricklen scored 15 points, including a three-pointer to pull Connecticut within one as well as the game-winning put back from a Camille Little miss
With Alex Bentley struggling for the second consecutive game (1-for-7) after becoming ill after the All Star break, it was crucial for the Sun bench to step up, and it did in a big way. Stricklen and rookie Elizabeth Williams, who tied her career high with 10 points and pulled down a career-high six rebounds led the way, as the Sun bench outscored Seattle’s bench 33-13.
“I have to give our bench credit,” said head coach Anne. Dononvan.” When we were 7-1, I was saying, ‘we have to step up bench, better get it together. We’re going to need our bench down the road.’”
It was the second game of the season between the teams, Connecticut won the first one 79-58 in Seattle, the second opportunity for Little and Stricklen to play against their former team. Seattle traded the pair to Connecticut prior to the WNBA draft for guard Renee Montgomery (since traded to Minnesota) and the number three draft pick, who turned out to be former UConn star Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. On this night, Mosqueda-Lewis was a “did not play – coaches’ decision” and Stricklen and Little showed why the Sun made this trade, silencing the critics who wanted the UConn All-American in a Sun uniform.
“I had so much confidence in Camille,” said Donovan last night about the trade. “We all knew what she could do from the intangible standpoint and freeing up (Kelsey) Bone inside. Stricklen’s a player where every year we play Seattle, she’s always been that player when you’re scouting them, you think, ‘she’s dangerous.'”
Connecticut pulled this one out despite hitting only 38 percent of its shots from the floor, and 64 percent from the foul line. They were outrebounded 35-34 as well. They were aided by some non-calls on some close calls, including a key block by Williams of a Jenna O’Hea drive to the basket that had a great deal of contact.
Still, the Storm, who were led by Sue Bird’s 15 points and Jewell Loyd with 13, made no excuses.
“I thought we battled well,” Storm coach Jenny Boucek said. Connecticut hit some big shots and they made more plays down the stretch than we did.”
Stricklen may have struggled at the beginning of the season, but she has been a crucial part of the Sun rotation of late. She has 20 made three-pointers in the last six games, and has scored in double-figures in each of those games.
Seattle had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but Bird and Loyd were smothered by the aggressive Connecticut defense, and Abby Bishop’s jump shot bounced off, giving Connecticut its ninth victory of the season.
“I’m happy to have my 6-8 head above water,” Donovan joked of the Sun’s 9-8 record.
By the Numbers
Points in the Paint: Storm 34, Sun 34
Second Chance Points: Storm 6, Sun 13
Fastbreak Points: Storm 0, Sun 6
Biggest Lead: Storm 9, Sun 5
Lead Changes: 15
Times Tied: 12