Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cold snap

The Sun are in San Antonio tonight, and it was probably a good thing they weren't around the 50-degree temps in Connecticut last night. They're already cold enough.

In their last two games -- both losses -- Connecticut (20-12) is a combined 52-for-140 (37 percent) from the floor, its poor shooting the main reason it's fallen back into a first-place tie with the Detroit Shock. It didn't put Mike Thibault in a good mood when reached by phone late Wednesday morning. (The Silver Stars and Sun tip at 8 o'clock tonight.)

"We were watching film of the San Antonio game again," Thibault said. (The Sun lost 85-73 to the Silver Stats Sunday.) It was all offense first and then all defense. I didn't like our offense at all. I thought we settled for contested shots. I thought we could have executed better. I thought we could have set screens better. Defensively, I thought we were good at times, but we still didn't apply the pressure I thought we could apply. It's been a very, very ugly couple days."

Thibault said he didn't have definitive answers to the Sun's sudden struggles (he used the word "mystifying") but he offered a few maybes.

"Maybe we got away with some sloppy execution because we weren't challenged as well," he said. "We played some better teams or these two teams played way better against us than the previous couple teams have played.

"But our offense is really bad right now," Thibault continued. "The defense has been OK. It's not been A-plus. It's been good enough to win games if we shoot 45, 44 percent like we have been over the last month or so. But when you're shooting 30 percent two games in a row, it's hard to win. It's just very difficult. It puts pressure on your defense to get a stop every time because you're not scoring."

The keys don't change too much when it comes to containing San Antonio. The Sun will need to do a better job of limiting Becky Hammon, as she scored 10 of her 24 points Sunday during the fourth quarter, while continuing to make Ann Wauters and Erin Buescher non-factors for sizable stretches. They both got their points at times, but they hardly impacted the game as much as the Stars' stars did, Sophia Young (22 points, 10 rebounds) included. But perhaps most importantly, the Sun need to shoot better. Maybe it's focus, maybe it's just finding the right people at the right times. But San Antonio didn't limit Connecticut Sunday as much as the Sun shot themselves in the foot. (Remember, they missed seven lay-ups in the second quarter alone.)

I won't be near a computer tonight, plus with the game not being televised, I won't be able to put together a game thread. But check back here tomorrow for reaction, both from me and the Sun. The team won't arrive back into Connecticut until later Friday night, and will have just a shootaround to prepare for Saturday's regular-season finale against Washington. But keep an eye on Detroit-Washington and New York-Indiana. Those results will impact the Sun's playoff seeding as much as their own. New York sits 1.5 games back of the Sun and Shock in third.

Also, as mentioned in the game thread on Tuesday, Jamie Carey is suffering from turf toe and remains questionable for tonight's game. She played with it during Sunday's loss as well.

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