PHOENIX, June 16 – Former UConn star Morgan Tuck made her first start of the season for the Connecticut Sun and scored a season-high 20 points Saturday night in Phoenix but it wasn’t enough as the Sun dropped their third straight game in a 89-72 loss to the Phoenix Mercury in WNBA action.
Connecticut (7-4) was missing Alyssa Thomas, who injured her shoulder in a game against Washington on Wednesday, and Chiney Ogwumike, who was out with a knee injury. Less than 24 hours earlier, Ogwumike had scored a career-high 30 points in a loss to the Seattle Storm.
Phoenix (9-3) was at full strength and won their seventh straight game. Diana Taurasi had 19 points while DeWanna Bonner added 15 as the Mercury led from start to finish. Sancho Lyttle scored 14 points while Brittney Griner added 12 for Phoenix.
“The unfortunate thing in this compacted schedule is that with injuries, you don’t have (much) time to practice (or heal your injuries),” Sun coach Curt Miller said earlier this week. “We’ll have to be strong, try to steal some road wins until we get to the back end of the schedule.”
This was Connecticut’s third game in four days in three different states – Connecticut, Washington and Arizona. The back-to-back games in Seattle and Phoenix are the first two games of a five-game road trip that will continue Friday in Atlanta at 7 p.m.
Against the Mercury, Brionna Jones, the second-year 6-foot-3 center out of Maryland, had a career-high 17 points for Connecticut along with four rebounds and three blocks while Jasmine Thomas scored 10. Courtney Williams, who had a career-high 34 points Wednesday against Washington, scored nine points on 4-of-11 shooting from the floor.
Tuck played a season-high 28 minutes and fell one point shy of her career high of 21 points that she had against Atlanta last May. Against Phoenix, Tuck sank 8-of-12 shots from the floor and was 3-of-5 from three-point range.
The Mercury limited Connecticut to just six points in the second quarter – their lowest output of the season in a quarter. The Sun trailed, 43-21 at halftime.
Connecticut scored 24 points in the third quarter and trimmed the lead to 12 points in the fourth quarter on a Tuck three-point shot with 2:33 remaining but couldn’t get any closer. Less than 30 seconds after Tuck’s shot, Taurasi drained another three-pointer for the Mercury.