The Sun conclude their road trip tonight at the Sacramento Monarchs(10 p.m., ARCO Arena). Again, no TV tonight, but you can follow online at the team's Web site. Jolene Anderson "probably" will start, Sun coach Mike Thibault said, a game after Ketia Swanier replaced her for defensive purposes on Phoenix' Cappie Pondexter.
"She did alright," Thibault said of Swanier. "She did a pretty good job on Cappie Pondexter. That's why we did it. We probably won't have the same lineup (tonight). It was a one-night thing for a match-up."
Thibault, naturally, wasn't in the greatest of moods following the Sun's 21-point loss to Phoenix, saying he wasn't "happy about anything" from the loss. A game after their offensive rebounding staved off Seattle early, the Sun grabbed just five boards off their missed shots against the Mercury, a team that ranked second to last in rebound differential in the league entering the game.
"Offensive rebounding is strictly effort, that's all it is," Thibault said. "You have to have a will to do it. Some people have it, some people don't. You can't have it one night and not have it the next."
As for Sacramento, in many ways it's a far different team than the one the Sun saw in the third game of the season (an 87-64 victory) and in many ways, it isn't. It still emphasizes defense, looking to split the court and take away the weak side of the floor, and the offensive weapons -- namely Rebekkah Brunson, Nicole Powell and Kara Lawson -- remain the same. But the Monarchs (5-5) are certainly deeper, adding Chelsea Newton and Scholanda Robinson, who were injured the first time the teams met. The Monarchs are 2-2 at home this season.
"We played badly in the first quarter against them last time; I mean, really badly," Thibault said. "I don't think we can afford that kind of a start (tonight) on the road. I think we were farther along than they were at that time. They have some new players, we have a new player (in Sandrina Gruda). It's just different. Teams go through different stretches where they go up and down and they're on a pretty good up despite their loss to L.A. (last Saturday at home). They played pretty well for long stretches (that night)."
Following the game, the Sun will stay in Sacramento. Thibault said their flight won't touch down on the East coast until 11 p.m. on Saturday, completing the team's 13-day road trip. Asked if the travel was starting to wear on the team -- especially after it shot so poorly Wednesday in Phoenix and faded late -- Thibault said, "No, I don't think so."
"I think we just played bad basketball," he said. "I think if we can't be a consistent offensive rebounding team, we're going to have games like this and weeks like this, because right now defensively we don't generate enough turnovers by other teams. We need to get more possessions some way, so you either have to get them that way or you have to get extra possessions off the offensive boards. And we're doing neither right now. That's one of our biggest concerns. We're not good enough right now to outscore everybody."
Thibault went on to say "every night for us is a fight." Asked if there's a concern those nights will eventually wear his team down, the coach laughed -- but not because it was a ridiculous question.
"I worry about every thing," he said. "That would be one of them. We're not going to show up, put our sneakers on and overwhelm anybody. We have to have a great effort every night, be smart every night, and we gotta play to our strengths and try to hide some of our weaknesses. And (Wednesday) night, we didn't."
Here's the scout box for tonight's game:
CONNECTICUT SUN at SACRAMENTO MONARCHS
10 p.m., today
ARCO Arena, Sacramento, Calif.
Records: Connecticut 9-3; Sacramento 5-5.
Last game: Connecticut lost at Phoenix, 102-81, on Wednesday; Sacramento lost to Los Angeles, 74-66, on Saturday.
Next game: Connecticut hosts Detroit Tuesday; Sacramento hosts Chicago Sunday.
Series: Sacramento leads the all-time series, 11-10, and is 5-4 against the Sun at home. Connecticut won the previous meeting between the two teams this season at Mohegan Sun Arena, 87-64, on May 24.
Injuries: Connecticut—Kamesha Hairston (recovering from surgery to repair torn meniscus, day-to-day). Sacramento—None reported.
Scouting report: Sun coach Mike Thibault said the Sun “probably won’t have the same starting lineup” tonight as they did against Phoenix, when rookie Ketia Swanier made her first career start in place of Jolene Anderson. “She did a pretty good on Cappie Pondexter,” Thibault said of Swanier. “That’s why we did it. It was a one-night thing for a match-up.” Asked if Anderson would return to her starting role, Thibault said “probably.” … Connecticut and Sacramento played what Thibault called “one of the best games all season” last year in ARCO Arena, an 82-78 overtime win by the Sun. “We’re facing a team that’s pretty experienced, good at home,” Thibault said. “They have one of the best homecourt advantages in the league. We’ve had some great games here.” … With 10 or more points tonight, Lindsay Whalen will tie a franchise record with her 17th consecutive game scoring in double figures, a mark set by Katie Douglas in 2006. Whalen notched 13 points Wednesday in Phoenix, hitting a season-high three 3-pointers … The Monarchs are going for their 200th win as a franchise. They own a career record of 123-59 at home, compared to 76-108 on the road. They are 2-2 at ARCO this season. … Chelsea Newton (3.0 points per game) and Scholanda Robinson, sidelined by injury the first time Sacramento and Connecticut met, have both played in the Monarchs’ last six games, averaging a combined 30.2 minutes. They’re both known more for their presence on the defensive end, as Newton — a starter all of last season — earned WNBA All-Defensive second team honors. Sacramento is 4-2 since they’ve returned.
1 Amber Holt 5.0
15 Asjha Jones 15.6
00 Tamika Whitmore 14.3
13 Lindsay Whalen 15.3
33 Jolene Anderson 6.2
22 Barbara Turner 10.6
7 Sandrine Gruda 5.7
10 Jamie Carey 3.2
14 Nicole Powell 14.3
32 Rebekkah Brunson 11.1
34 A. Williams-Strong 6.6
20 Kara Lawson 10.6
21 Ticha Penicheiro 9.6
15 Laura Harper 6.3
42 Crystal Kelly 5.6
5 Scholanda Robinson 4.3