UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) In the midst of their longest winning streak in two years, Connecticut Sun coach Anne Donovan found a teaching moment for young posts Kelsey Bone and Chiney Ogwumike.
The pair was benched a few minutes into the game Tuesday night. They didn’t play again until well into second period. Their response, however, was pronounced. Bone and Ogwumike combined for 34 points the rest of the way, leading the streaking Sun to an 89-67 victory over the Indiana Fever, Connecticut’s fifth straight win.
Ogwumike scored all 18 of her points in the second half and Bone added 16 for the Sun (7-6), who moved into second place in the WNBA’s Eastern Conference after beginning the month in last place.
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”(Donovan) said `are you ready now?’ when she put us back in,” Bone said. ”We had to answer that call. Anytime your coach challenges you and you respond, that’s always a good thing.”
This is Connecticut’s longest winning streak since July of 2012 when it won five straight.
”I like the progress we’ve made. We’re gaining confidence,” Donovan said. ”They stayed confident when we were in the hole and continued to work through it. Every day in practice they worked they prepared and refused to look at the one and whatever our record was (1-5). I like the team I’m seeing out there quite a bit.”
Connecticut needs four wins the rest of the season to eclipse its 2013 win total of 10.
Katie Douglas also had 18 for the Sun while Alyssa Thomas added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Connecticut used a 22-2 run in the third period to lead by as many as 25. During the run, the officials whistled Indiana coach Lin Dunn for a technical foul. Not long after, Indiana guard Shavonte Zellous was hit with two technicals and ejected for arguing with the officials.
”You have to learn to keep your composure,” Dunn said. ”I was very disappointed in Zellous. We need her. We count on her.”
Connecticut attempted 19 more free throws than Indiana.
Lynetta Kizer led Indiana (5-5) with a career-high 13 points. Erlana Larkins added 10.
Connecticut led 34-29 at halftime. Bone had 11 points to lead the Sun in the first half, scoring all the points in the final five minutes.