Lynx's late rally can't stop Sun

East leader Connecticut handed the WNBA champs their third consecutive loss and first of the year at home.

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On Saturday night, the Lynx reached the midpoint of their once-historic WNBA season with tears.

Guard Candice Wiggins was openly weeping in the hallway on the way to the Lynx locker room after her team lost its third game in a row -- for the first time since July 2010.

Eastern Conference leader Connecticut, led by three players with double-doubles, beat the Lynx 86-80 despite a furious fourth-quarter rally, inspired partly by the cheers of a crowd announced at 10,882.

The Lynx (13-4) had won eight consecutive games at home this season and 14 in a row going back to last year's playoffs.

"This was the culmination of a tough week for us," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "[We played] three really good teams. Tonight you are not going to beat the second-best offensive team in the league shooting 39 percent.

"This should have been a shootout. This should have been two great offensive teams really going at it. Unfortunately for us, it took a while for us to start making shots."

The WNBA champion Lynx, who opened the season with a league-record 10 victories in a row, were averaging a league-high 85.7 points, the Sun 83.2.

The Sun (12-4) avenged a 13-point loss to the Lynx five weeks ago in Connecticut by making a little history of their own. This was the first time they had three double-doubles.

Point guard Kara Lawson scored 22 points and had 10 rebounds. And on the inside, the team's two Olympians dominated. Tina Charles, a 6-4 center, had 19 points and 15 rebounds, and 6-3 forward Asjha Jones had 16 points and 11 rebounds. It was the fourth game in a row Charles and Jones have had double-doubles.

"I felt we could go at Taj [McWilliams-Franklin] and Rebekkah [Brunson] a little bit," Sun coach Mike Thibault said, referring to the Lynx's two post players. "I thought our people did a good job of defending them for the most part, too."

Early in the fourth quarter, the Sun built a 20-point lead. Only then did the Lynx start hitting. A 21-4 run, fueled by five three-pointers -- two apiece by Maya Moore and Wiggins -- got the Lynx within 78-75 with 1 minute, 43 seconds left.

They never got any closer.

"We gave ourselves a chance to win, which I appreciated," Reeve said. "We didn't go away. They missed some shots. We got some rebounds. We got down to the other end. We started scoring the ball. That's a great combination."

Moore led the Lynx with 19 points, McWilliams-Franklin had 15 and Seimone Augustus added 14, but only two came after halftime.

"When we were not able to make shots, we lost our focus," Reeve said. "We played very frustrated. It was just one pass and try to shoot and someone trying to stop the bleeding, instead of playing through that and moving the ball around."

Said Moore: "Of course, [the loss] hurts. Every time you lose at anything, it hurts. But I don't think we are done. We just got to keep going; we just got to keep fighting."


• The Lynx have only two games left before their five-week break for the London Olympics. They play at Tulsa on Tuesday and then play the Shock again at home on Thursday.

• The Lynx announced before the game that rookie forward Devereaux Peters will be out until after the break for the Olympics because of a broken left hand.


    Up next: 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Tulsa • No TV (106.1-FM)

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