After clawing back from an 11-point deficit in the first quarter, Washington (2-10) watched the Sun go on a decisive 12-0 run to begin the second half. That spurt proved to be more than enough on a night when the Mystics never led against the Eastern Conference leader.
Forward Monique Currie scored a season-high 21 points off the bench and Crystal Langhorne added 11, but by the time the fourth quarter rolled around the Mystics trailed by 19. They never cut the gap below double digits from there.
“That [run] kind of dictated the second half,” Currie said. “We fought back, but we can’t start games or halves like that.”
Forward Asjha Jones paced Connecticut (10-3), tying her season-high with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Mistie Mims chipped in a season-high 15 points off the bench. Forward Tina Charles also had a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
But Washington’s issues revolved around its offense. The Mystics ended up with 26 second-chance points and attempted 19 more shots than the Sun, but that was because there were plenty of misses to go around.
The Mystics shot just 32.5 percent from the floor, the second time in three games they finished below 40 percent from the field.
Coach Trudi Lacey felt the offensive woes played a direct role in the team’s slow start to the second half. It didn’t help that Langhorne, the team’s leading scorer, was slowed after halftime by a twisted right ankle.
“We’re in a little bit of a shooting slump,” Lacey said. “When you don’t make shots, it’s a little deflating and you spend a lot of time on defense. Even though your offense shouldn’t affect your defense, we missed a couple shots and turned the ball over.”
Washington began the game by hitting just two of its first 13 shots, and quickly fell behind by 11 points. But point guard Shannon Bobbitt (seven points, seven assists), making her first start since joining the team two weeks ago, pulled the Mystics within five when she scored or assisted on Washington’s final nine points of the first quarter.
The Mystics entered halftime trailing by just four, symptomatic of a team that hasn’t quit even as it sits in the cellar of the Eastern Conference for a second straight season.
That, though, might be the most disturbing part of all: Despite its best efforts, Washington has no answers at this point.
“It’s very frustrating. We’ve got to put together a complete game and we’re due for a good game, a complete game,” Currie said. “I can’t keep coming up with something new . . . every game of why this didn’t work and why that didn’t work. The bottom line is we have to play hard, leave it on the floor and win games.”