UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Alyssa Thomas and the Connecticut Sun are tough to beat this season, especially at home.
Thomas scored 20 points, Shekinna Stricklen added 16 and the Sun won a franchise-record 12th straight regular-season home game with an 81-67 victory over the Seattle Storm in WNBA action Sunday.
“You just try to take care of the home court,” Thomas said. “We have had a lot of success here and we feed off the energy of the crowd.”
The Sun led 56-54 heading into the fourth quarter. Thomas scored the first four points of the final period to spark a 10-2 run that gave Connecticut a double-digit advantage. The Storm got no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Connecticut (8-1) broke the franchise mark of 11 consecutive regular-season home victories set in 2004-05. The Sun’s last regular-season home loss came against Seattle on July 20 of last year. Connecticut has won six straight overall.
Natasha Howard scored 20 points and Jewell Loyd added 15 to lead the Storm (5-4), who finished off a four-game road trip with a 2-2 record. They play eight of their next nine games at home.
“It’s been a long haul out here and we, for the most part, have battled,” interim Storm coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “These guys are really good. We ran out of gas a little bit in the fourth quarter. They are a well-coached team. They shoot the ball well.”
Seattle was missing point guard Jordin Canada, who suffered a bone bruise on her knee in a game against Washington on Friday. She didn’t accompany the team to Connecticut, instead flying home to Seattle. Canada has been playing in place of injured star Sue Bird, who was on the Seattle bench for Sunday’s game. Bird is out indefinitely after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on her left knee last month.
“It’s doing really well,” Bird said of her knee. “It’s been super easy recovery so far. Taking it easy because they had to do a little more than they anticipated.”
Jones helped the Sun jump out to an 11-point lead in the first quarter. The Storm rallied to within 28-26 by scoring the first nine points of the second quarter before Alyssa Thomas restored the double-digit advantage.
Trailing 44-33 at the half, the Storm scored the first 12 points of the third quarter as the Sun turned the ball over on five straight possessions. Loyd had six points and three steals during that stretch.
The Storm’s next game is Friday against the Los Angeles Sparks at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett.