Tan White leads Sun past Mystics, 77-70
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP)
Tan White matched her career high with 26 points and had six assists to help the short-handed Connecticut Sun beat the Washington Mystics 77-70 on Friday night.
Kelsey Griffin added 17 points, and Mistie Bass had eight points and 10 rebounds for Connecticut (7-23). The Sun played without four starters - WNBA MVP Tina Charles (knee), Kelly Faris (foot), Allison Hightower (knee), and Kara Lawson (bruised knee). All but Lawson have been shut down for the season.
''We have nothing to lose,'' Bass said. ''This group is not the type to lay down and die. The season happened the way that it did, but it doesn't mean we have to end that way. I feel like the group we have playing is going to work hard because at the end of the day, you still have to have some pride. You're not just going to go out there and be there.''
Crystal Langhorne had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Mystics (14-16), and Tayler Hill scored 15 points.
The Sun have endured several injuries, resulting in the worst season in franchise history. They also have the fewest wins in the league.
Connecticut, eliminated from playoff contention last week, scored the first eight points of the game and held off Washington late.
The Mystics would've qualified for the postseason with a win.
''I think we didn't look by (Connecticut) at all because we knew that we had a chance to clinch a playoff spot,'' Washington coach Mike Thibault said. ''That should've been along enough energy. I just thought we were soft defensively on Tan at the start, and it got them energized and it gave them some confidence.''
Washington hadn't played since Aug. 28, which worried Thibault.
''I was concerned about that when I saw the schedule; that we were going to have a stretch with that much time off,'' Thibault said. ''I'd rather keep playing, but it is what the schedule-maker gave us.''
White scored five points in the first 38 seconds, prompting Thibault to call timeout.
Griffin made a wide-open 3-pointer after the timeout to extend the Sun's lead to 8-0.
Washington came back with Langhorne's layup giving it a 34-33 lead with 19.1 seconds left in the first half. Kalana Greene made an open 3-pointer from the left corner with 0.2 seconds remaining to give Connecticut a 36-34 halftime lead.
The Sun opened the second half with a 9-2 run to go ahead 45-36.
Griffin's three-point play with over 7 minutes left in the game gave Connecticut a 14-point lead (68-54), its largest of the game.
The Mystics came back and cut the deficit to four at 72-68 on Emma Messeman's jumper with 1:31 left.
White fed Kayla Pederson for a layup on the other end. White grabbed a rebound after a missed Washington shot, was fouled, and made both free throws to put the Sun ahead, 76-68, with 59.9 seconds remaining.
''I'm so proud of that effort from those eight,'' Connecticut coach Anne Donovan said. ''They just played so well and so hard, followed the game plan and just hustled from beginning to end despite Washington's runs. I'm just really proud of their effort.''