Washington, DC — The Connecticut Sun jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the opening minutes of play and led by nine points with 4:33 remaining on Wednesday afternoon at the Verizon Center.
But the Washington Mystics (4-2) closed with a 14-3 run to pull off a 78-76 victory. It was the third two-point loss of the season for Connecticut, which fell to 1-5.
“Great game,” Sun head coach and general manager Curt Miller said. “I thought we executed a lot of our game plan. We outscored them by 18 points in the field. We really bothered them with what we did. No one made more than five baskets against us. When the game was on the line, they put their heads down and got calls and we didn’t.”
Shekinna Stricklen (20 points) tied a career-high by making the last of her six three-pointers to give the Sun a 73-64 lead with 4:33 left. At that point, the Sun were in great position to win their second straight game on the road.
But the Sun missed their next five shots while also turning it over twice, and the Mystics repeatedly got to the foul line, making 9 of 10 free throws during a 14-2 run that followed Stricklen’s made three.
Connecticut’s last lead was 75-73 with 1:29 left on an Alyssa Thomas layup. But Tayler Hill (18 points) hit two free throws to tie the game at 75 with 1:15 remaining, and Elena Delle Donne put the Mystics up for good by converting a three-point play with 44.8 seconds remaining.
The Sun had one last chance in the final seconds, when Alex Bentley was fouled on a three-point shot. But she missed the first free throw, and after making the second one, missed the third to set up a rebound opportunity.
The Sun ended up with a final shot following a jump ball, but it missed.
Connecticut was outscored by a whopping 20 points at the free throw line – the Sun were 6 of 11 while the Mystics were 26 of 29.
Jonquel Jones had 14 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, posting her third double-double of the season. Lynetta Kizer (12 points, eight rebounds) posted her third straight double-figure scoring game while Jasmine Thomas (nine points, six assists, six rebounds) contributed a balanced performance.
The Sun will travel to San Antonio to face the Stars Saturday. Game time is set for 8 p.m. Eastern.
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