Sun-Storm preview

BY foxsports • June 23, 2016

Sue Bird is in her 14th WNBA season and one of the many things she has learned is that there isn't much time to overcome a slow start.

Bird and her Seattle Storm teammates are buried in a 4-9 start and aim to break a three-game losing streak when they host the Connecticut Sun on Friday.

"The season can go by so fast and before you know it, you can find yourself in a big hole," Bird said after Seattle's loss to Minnesota on Sunday. "Right now we need to wake up and realize what's happening and we have to start winning."

The Storm used to be regular playoff participants but are on track to miss the postseason for the third straight season.

The tough campaign has occurred even though top overall pick Breanna Stewart of the University of Connecticut -- the same alma mater as Bird -- has quickly made an impact.

Stewart had 21 points and nine rebounds in the loss to Minnesota to fall just shy of her sixth double-double Stewart is averaging 16.7 points and 9.7 rebounds.

Guard Jewell Loyd leads the Storm with a 17.2 scoring average and has recorded six 20-point outings, while the 35-year-old Bird is averaging 13.3 points and 5.5 assists.

The Sun (3-10) have also endured their struggles but are coming off a 93-90 victory over the San Antonio Stars.

Guard Alex Bentley scored 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting to raise her team-best average to 13.5.

Bentley also feels urgency for a turnaround as the contest in Seattle is the opener of a four-game road swing. Connecticut will also visit Los Angeles, Phoenix and Dallas.

"It's a huge stretch," Bentley said after the win over San Antonio. "Important games and we're going to fight to come away with some wins."

Guard Jasmine Thomas (11.5 points, 4.8 assists) and center Kelsey Bone (10.8) are also scoring in double digits for the Sun. Forward Alyssa Thomas, who averages 9.5 points, is expected to miss her fourth consecutive game with a concussion.

The teams have split two previous meetings this season. Seattle posted a 93-81 victory on its home floor on May 28 and Connecticut recorded a 77-76 home win on June 17.

Sun rookie forward Morgan Tuck scored a season-best 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting in last week's meeting. Tuck was the third overall pick of the 2016 draft out of Connecticut.

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