SEATTLE (AP) Chiney Ogwumike started slow, but Alex Bentley more than made up for it.
Bentley scored 22 points, and rookie standout Ogwumike eventually finished with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, helping the Connecticut Sun beat the Seattle Storm 86-63 on Tuesday.
Connecticut (10-13) snapped a three-game losing streak. The Sun had lost seven of their previous eight.
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Bentley scored 16 of her points during the first half. Ogwumike, who had just four points at halftime, got into double figures for the 20th time in her first 21 games. The double-double was her eighth. Kelsey Bone chipped in 16 points off the bench.
”We don’t try to depend on any one player. We try to make sure everyone is playing the basketball we need to,” said Ogwumike, the former Stanford star and No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. ”Alex was really hot in the beginning, and we loved that because she was able to give us confidence for our shooters and get our posts going and everything.”
Added Bentley, ”They were all over Katie Douglas, and it just opened up a lot of things for every one of us on the court. I just took my open looks, and my posts were setting great screens.”
Camille Little pumped in 14 points for the Storm (9-15), who have lost three of their past four, and were kept below 70 points for the 14th time in 24 games. Crystal Langhorne had 11 points and Sue Bird 10 for Seattle.
The Sun limited the Storm to just eight points in the second quarter on the way to a 39-30 halftime lead. Seattle got as close as seven midway through the third at 44-37.
But Connecticut ran off the next six points to make it 50-37 and kept the margin in double digits the rest of the afternoon.
”It comes down usually just a certain period of time – it could be four minutes, five minutes – where we let things get away from us,” Bird said. ”They got up nine at halftime, and nine’s not great, but it’s not the end of the word. Then we let them get up more so in the third quarter. Once you dig yourself a hole, it’s tough.”
Up 26-24 early in the second quarter, the Sun tightened up defensively. They limited Seattle to just 29 percent shooting through the middle two periods (10 of 34), and 41 percent for the afternoon (27 of 66).
”They were scoring at will, and we really talked about it at the end of the first quarter and tried to lock down and focus,” Connecticut coach Anne Donovan said. ”It wasn’t anything we changed up. We just knew we had to lock in. Seattle can score points and they’re dangerous, and we knew that.”
The Sun shot a season-high 53 percent from the field (35 of 66) and rarely went more than one possession without a point.
”We didn’t get a series of stops to be able to play out of that (deficit),” Storm coach Brian Agler said. ”We count on that. It’s important for us to get consecutive stops and hold people down, and that didn’t happen today very often.”