UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) The new-look Connecticut Sun can feel better about themselves.
Rookie Chiney Ogwumike had 18 points and seven rebounds to help Connecticut win for the first time this season, 71-59 over the Seattle Storm on Friday night.
Reserve Kelsey Bone had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Sun (1-3), Allison Hightower scored 14 points, and rookie Alyssa Thomas added 10.
Crystal Langhorne had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Storm (0-3).
”Even though it wasn’t the cleanest game from the beginning to the end, we played hard for 40 minutes,” Ogwumike said. ”A lot of people stepped up up-and-down our roster.
”I think win number one means a lot because we had so many people contribute. It feels good. I was running off the court like, `Yes! Yes!’ It feels so good.”
Connecticut outrebounded Seattle 47-30. The Storm shot just 37.3-percent.
”Our effort was much better, especially in the beginning of the game, and as the game wore on, we broke down on some things defensively,” Seattle coach Brian Agler said. ”I was not happy with our ten turnovers in the first half. That hurt us a little bit. We made some strides and obviously it’s not where we want to be, and it’s where we will end up being at the end of the season, but we are moving in the right direction here.”
The Sun endured their worst season in franchise history last year and finished a league-worst 10-24. It was forced to trade All-Star center Tina Charles and guard Kara Lawson over the offseason.
Connecticut brought in several new players. It drafted Ogwumike with the first overall pick. It also acquired Thomas, the fourth overall pick, and Bone, a second-year center, from the New York Liberty on draft day as part of a trade for Charles.
”It’s been coming,” Sun coach Anne Donovan said. ”And I can’t say that there won’t be ups-and-downs as we move forward. We’re a young team but that’s the team that comes to practice every day. That supports each other. That gets into each other. That works their tails off every day. We are talented enough for good things to happen to us.”