Here's an extended version of the game story that will run in tomorrow's Bulletin. The Sun trounced Indiana, 84-58, Thursday, handing the slumping Fever (12-15) their worst home loss in team history and their worst loss in the teams' series history.
From staff and wire reports
INDIANAPOLIS — The Connecticut Sun dominated the Indiana Fever Thursday. It couldn’t have looked any easier, either.
Tamika Whitmore scored 15 points, Asjha Jones added 14 and the Eastern Conference-leading Sun (17-10) handed Indiana its worst loss in their series history, an 84-58 drubbing at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Kerri Gardin and Sandrine Gruda each scored 11 for Connecticut in the first game back from the Olympic break for both teams. Whitmore shot 6-of-7 from the field and Jones added four rebounds.
“That was as good as I could have hoped coming out of the break,” Sun coach Mike Thibault said. “We’re interchangeable in certain positions, and Asjha and Whit feel great right now. They have their legs under them.”
Through three quarters, the Sun shot 30-of-49 from the field, had 18 assists against six turnovers and led by as many as 35 points.
Their margin of victory was the largest ever against Indiana, surpassing an 84-59 win over the Fever on Aug. 4, 2007. No starter had to play more than 22 minutes, either, a vast improvement from the teams’ first match-up on May 27, a 74-46 Fever victory at Mohegan Sun Arena.
“Connecticut played extremely well tonight,” Indiana coach Lin Dunn said. “They looked like a well-oiled machine. This game reminded me of the game we played there when we whipped their butts.”
Said Thibault: “This was a little pay-back.”
Tully Bevilaqua and Tammy Sutton-Brown each scored nine points to lead Indiana (12-15), which lost for the fourth time in five games. The Sun, meanwhile, have won four straight, extending their lead to a full game over second-place and idle Detroit.
“We were really focused during the break, doing what we had to do,” Whitmore said. “We wanted to start the way we ended (entering the break). Now we just want to keep it going.”
Connecticut shot 66 percent from the field in the first half, compared to 30 percent for the Fever. The Sun took control with a big second quarter, extending a nine-point lead to 54-25 on Gruda’s lay-up and outscoring Indiana 30-10 in that period alone.
Gardin’s basket early in the third quarter gave Connecticut its biggest lead at 62-27.
“Connecticut was clicking on all cylinders,” said Indiana guard and former Sun star Katie Douglas, who scored eight points. “You could see that they had all been together during that break, only missing (Erin) Phillips, who is not a starter. We looked like a preseason team. We were out of rhythm and out of sync.”
Phillips, who missed the first portion of the season to train with the Australian Olympic team, scored two points in 16 minutes in her first game with the Sun since the 2006 season. The newly-signed Svetlana Abrosimova, who arrived in Atlanta Thursday, will join the team when it plays the Dream (3-24) tonight at 7:30 at Philips Arena.
After picking up two quick fouls at the start of each half, MVP candidate Lindsay Whalen was held scoreless in 11 minutes. The rest will be welcomed; the Sun still have two games in three days.