INDIANAPOLIS -- The Connecticut Sun didn't show any signs of fading in their first game back from an extended layoff.
Tamika Whitmore scored 15 points and the Sun raced out to a big early lead in an 84-58 victory over the Indiana Fever on Thursday night, marking the WNBA's return following a monthlong Olympics break."We looked alive and fresh," said Connecticut coach Mike Thibault. "I didn't know what to expect coming out of the break, but we've had great energy in practice the last three days since I got back from China."Whitmore said the Sun wanted to make a statement to other Eastern Conference teams. They remain atop the division at 17-10 with seven games remaining before the playoffs."We're sending a message to people that it's time to get down to business," Whitmore said. "We just have to keep it rolling."Asjha Jones had 14 points and Kerri Gardin and Sandrine Gruda each scored 11 for the Sun. Their margin of victory was the largest ever against Indiana, surpassing an 84-59 win over the Fever on Aug. 4, 2007.Indiana beat the Sun 75-46 on their home court earlier this season."Getting payback wasn't on our mind," Thibault said. "It's nice to have it, but it wasn't a focus coming in."Tully Bevilaqua and Tammy Sutton-Brown each scored nine points to lead Indiana (12-15), which lost for the fourth time in five games."We can either get better or we could fold our tents," Fever coach Lin Dunn said. "Everyone gets whipped during the season at some point and we got ours tonight."Connecticut shot 66 percent from the field in the first half, compared to 30 percent for the Fever. The Sun took control with a big second quarter, extending a nine-point lead to 54-25 on Gruda's layup before the intermission."They looked like a well-oiled machine," Dunn said.Gardin's basket early in the third quarter gave Connecticut its biggest lead at 62-27."Our energy was great," Thibault said. "I couldn't ask for a better showing in our first game back."