Final, Sun win, 80-76: Asjha Jones finished with 20 points, Amber Holt had 15 and the Sun held off Seattle late for their sixth straight win. The story, though, has to be Jamie Carey, who scored 12 points, hit the game-clinching free throws and made a steal to seal it, finishing off a clutch performance in place of the injured Lindsay Whalen.
Seattle's Sue Bird led all scorers with 24 points and Swin Cash added 16.
End of 3rd, Sun lead, 57-53: The Sun led by as many as 10 points following a mid-quarter flurry that included three 3s in roughly two minutes. But Seattle chipped into the deficit at the free throw and cut it to two points, 55-53, after a Bird jump shot with 1:22 left.
I knew the Sun have depth, but you don't really realize it until you see them cycle in player after player. This about the time they should wear down this Seattle team, but stay tuned.
End of 2nd, Sun lead, 36-35: Swin Cash hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, erasing a 7-0 Sun run. Asjha Jones (11 points) has converted three and-one plays, including one on a jump shot, and is pacing the Sun down low. Sue Bird (11 points) is doing the same for Seattle, making a living on pull-up jump shots near the foul line.
The game has had a good flow to it, with teams either trading small runs or bucket-for-bucket. I guess it's what you would expect with first place teams. Seattle has been pretty successful with dishing back to the post players on pick-and-rolls, but just imagine if they had Lauren Jackson to pass to on those plays.
End of 1st, Sun lead, 19-18: After a 10-minute delay (ABC has to get its commercials in), both teams have come out strong. I'll say this: Amber Holt and Kerri Gardin, as their numbers in previous games indicated, just look like different players. Some ticky-tack calls have them both on the bench with two fouls, but they simply look more confident and willing to take charge.
Svetlana Abrosimova made her debut with 2:20 to play in the quarter and hit her first shot as a Sun with 17 seconds to play to make it 19-18. She entered the game with Tamika Raymond, putting five UConn players (Svet, Raymond, Barbara Turner, Sue Bird and Swin Cash) on the floor at one time.
Greetings from Mohegan Sun Arena, where a sellout crowd or close to one is expected to take in the homecoming of Sue Bird and Swin Cash and return of Svetlana Abrosimova. This will be a cheer fest.
Some figures from this series: The Sun took the previous meeting this season between the two teams, 74-67 at KeyArena on June 16. Former Storm forward Barbara Turner and Lauren Jackson got into it a little that night, but of course, Jackson isn't even with the team at the moment as she recovers from ankle surgery. The Sun are 5-2 all-time at home against Seattle, and beat the Storm here last year as well. Seattle moved into a virtual tie for first place after deadline last night with Los Angeles' 58-53 over San Antonio and is seeking its third straight win. The Sun, meanwhile, have won five straight, and can ensure they stay in first ahead of Detroit, which hosts Chicago today.
Here are today's starters and officials. I'll check back after the tip.
G Jamie Carey
G Amber Holt
F Kerri Gardin
F Asjha Jones
C Tamika Whitmore
G Sue Bird
G Tanisha Wight
F Camille Little
F Sheryl Swoopes
C Yolanda Griffith
Officials: Daryl Humphrey, Denise Brooks, Josh Tiven
(A quick note: With the Sun already assured their sixth straight playoff berth, here are some key dates to know for the postseason. The regular season finishes up on the Saturday, Sept. 13 for the Sun and the 14th for whoever is left, with match-ups and dates set to be released Monday, Sept. 15. The playoffs officially begin Thursday, Sept. 18, with the higher seeds playing game one of their best-of-three first-round series on the road.)