Douglas, McWilliams-Franklin lift Sun past reeling Sky

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) -- Four straight games without the franchise's all-time leading scorer and the Connecticut Sun have barely blinked.

Katie Douglas scored 19 points and Taj McWilliams-Franklin added 17 to lead the Eastern Conference leaders to an easy 86-72 win over the last-place Chicago Sky on Thursday night. It was Connecticut third win in the four games they've been without an injured Nykesha Sales.

"That is what they're going to have to do is pick up when Sales is out," Chicago's Jia Perkins said. "[McWilliams-Franklin and Douglas] are great players and that's what they're going to have to do until she gets back."

Sales, averaging 13.7 points and 4.0 rebounds, has been out with a sore hip and Achilles' tendon. Her status is day-to-day.

The Sun had a season-high 25 assists on 33 field goals. Lindsay Whalen led the way with seven assists and rookie Erin Phillips, starting in place of Sales, had a career-high six assists.

Whalen and Phillips also combined for six of Connecticut's 14 steals. Whalen likes what she sees so far from her young backcourt mate Phillips.

"Every day she's becoming more comfortable with the team. It's hard to believe she's only 21," Whalen said. "Whatever the lineup is out there, we're going to play strong."

Connecticut (16-6) dominated inside with the tandem of McWilliams-Franklin and 7-foot-2 Margo Dydek. McWilliams-Franklin had a team-high eight boards and Dydek finished with 12 points, four blocked shots and six boards. The Sun's 29 defensive rebounds fueled their uptempo transition game as they piled up their points from the fastbreaks.

"It's like an A team against a B team," Chicago coach Dave Cowens said. "We've been a lot better effort-wise coming out of the gate lately, but tonight we just didn't have it. They shot the ball and it seems like a lot of people have been shooting the ball well against us lately."

Chicago (3-19) has lost 10 straight road games since opening its inaugural season with an 83-82 win at Charlotte on May 20.

Perkins, 5-of-6 from 3-point range, scored 21 for Chicago, matching her career high. Bernadette Ngoyisa had 14 and rookie Candice Dupree finished with 12 points.

The Sun pressed and ran for most of the first half to quickly turn a close game into a blowout. Connecticut led by as many as 27 in the second half, and even with the Sun reserves in for most of the second half, the Sky never threatened.

The Connecticut starters may have been grateful for the rest. Thursday's game was the first of four they'll play in a six-day span that includes two road games in the middle.

"It was important to set the tone early and play strong before we set off on this two-game road trip," Douglas said.

The Sun led 48-32 at the half and opened the third quarter with an 11-0 run. Chicago never recovered. Up 17 after three quarters, Connecticut played its reserves for most of the last 10 minutes. The Sky whittled away and, with 4:06 left, a Perkins jumper cut the
deficit to 13 points. Sun coach Mike Thibault reinserted starters Whalen, Douglas and Phillips and Chicago would get no closer.

"We didn't get back on defense," Perkins said. "They got so many transition points and that was the major difference."