Bird's return not enough in Storm loss to Sun, 76-58
The Associated Press
UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Sue Bird's return to Seattle's lineup was upstaged by the guards of the surging Connecticut Sun.
Lindsay Whalen scored 19 points and Katie Douglas added 18 as Connectiuct defeated the Storm 76-58 Friday night.
The Sun (11-11) have won five in a row and six of seven.
Asjha Jones had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Connecticut, which held All-Star Lauren Jackson to four points in the second half. Jackson scored a game-high 19 points for the Storm (11-11).
"You'd have to say that Lauren is the best player in the world right now, but Asjha's really battled her both times," Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said. "We gave her a lot of different looks."
Bird, who played college basketball at Connecticut, missed five games after having surgery on her left knee two weeks ago to remove a torn meniscus. She scored seven points on 3-for-14 shooting. A near-sellout crowd gave her a rousing ovation during pregame introductions.
Connecticut won the the other meeting between the teams, 76-63, last week in Seattle. Seattle shot 32.4 percent for the game and shot 8-for-38 (21 percent) in the second half when it scored 17 points.
"It wasn't a great game for any of us in terms of shooting the ball," Seattle coach Anne Donovan said. "Give Connecticut credit for their defense."
Connecticut scored the first nine points of the second half to take a 46-41 lead. Seattle cut the deficit to 49-47, but never got that close again.
Douglas made a 3-pointer late in the third period to give the Sun a 56-49 lead heading to the fourth. Jones made it 62-51 with 8:10 left in the fourth period before Connecticut's Evina Maltsi all but sealed the victory by making a 3 with 4:30 left.
Seattle led 41-37 halftime, thanks to 15 points from Jackson. The Storm used a 11-0 run midway through the second period to take a 25-16 lead, keyed by seven points from Jackson. Jones, who had been guarding Jackson, left the game late in the first period after getting poked in the eye. Jackson scored nine points in Jones' absence.
The Sun missed 10 of their first 13 shots and were shooting 7-for-25 from the field early in the second period.
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