UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) -- The combination of chemistry and
conditioning has the Connecticut Sun firmly atop the WNBA Eastern
With their transition offense led by Nykesha Sales and stingy
defense, the surging Sun (12-2) cruised to their fourth straight
win and remained unbeaten at home (6-0) with a 71-56 victory over
the Minnesota Lynx on Thursday night.
It was Connecticut's seventh game in 13 days, but the defending
Eastern Conference champs showed no sign of fatigue.
"We're in a rhythm right now. Everyone knows each other and
everyone is very unselfish," said Sales, who led the Sun with 18
points. "We're just playing hard and doing those little things.
And it looks really good out there."
Their unselfish play might have translated into the best start
in franchise history, yet no Sun player will be a starter in next
week's WNBA All-Star game, which will be played at the Mohegan Sun
One of the top passing teams in the league, the Sun had 21
assists on 28 field goals. Point guard Lindsay Whalen led the Sun
with six assists.
Katie Smith led Minnesota (8-7) with 11 points and had to work
hard for every one of them against the Sun defense, which held the
Lynx to 35-percent shooting.
"I think the Sun right now are the best team in the WNBA,"
Smith said. "They try to take you out of their flow and they take
things away. But I think we helped them out also. We didn't read
what they were taking away, either."
Connecticut opened with a 14-2 spurt that included consecutive
inside baskets from 7-foot-2 Margo Dydek. The Lynx responded with
their only threat of the night, a 16-5 surge to pull to 19-18.
Smith had five points in the spurt and the Lynx were right back in
the game with 8:14 left in the first half.
But it didn't last long.
"That's when we put on the boosters. That's where the
conditioning pays off," Sales said. "When you're feeling good you
perform at a higher level."
After a Connecticut timeout, Sales led the Sun on a 16-5 spurt.
She hit a pair of runners, a pull-up jumper in traffic and assisted
on a 3-pointer by Katie Douglas. It was the 500th assist of Sales'
career and came two nights after she scored her 3,000th point -- one
of just nine players in the league to reach that milestone.
The Sun led by 10 points at the break and it was more of the
same in the second half after Connecticut raced out with an 11-2
surge. The Sun led by as many as 22 points down the stretch.
"They run well, they find each other and they put on a clinic
on the offensive end," Lynx coach Suzie McConnell Serio said.
"They just outplayed us for 40 minutes."
Douglas finished with 12 points, and Taj McWilliams-Franklin had
nine rebounds for Connecticut. Svetlana Abrosimova scored 10 points
for Minnesota, and Nicole Ohlde had seven boards.
"There's not a lot to say other than we're playing good
basketball," Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said. "There were a
few lulls in there but there are going to be those in the courses
of the game. We did what we were supposed to do -- win a game at