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The Sun's Painful Loss Is The Storm's Gain

If you're a Seattle Storm fan, you have to be happy with the win but deep down somewhere in your soul you have to feel a little bit sorry for the Connecticut Sun.

There has to be a little sympathy somewhere within you for a team that fought that hard against the league's best team in their quest for a playoff spot.

The Day - Sun lose late lead, fall to Storm 83-82 | News from southeastern Connecticut
Another game. Another way for the Connecticut Sun to lose.

Connecticut led the league-leading Seattle Storm by seven points with over three minutes remaining in Thursday's game before Seattle used a combination of clutch plays and Sun miscues to hand the latter their fourth straight loss, 83-82, before 7,539 at Key Arena. Connecticut led, 79-72, with 3 minutes, 19 seconds left to play.

The Sun actually outplayed the Storm, but had to overcome 24 first half points from Lauren Jackson.

Statistical summary of a tough loss: A microcosm of failed expectations for the Sun - Swish Appeal
Storm statistical MVP: Lauren Jackson

Thibault described how early in the season the Sun were catching breaks, not just playing teams that were worse than them on a given night, but missing key players on more than one occasion.

"We played Minnesota early and they didn't have (Seimone) Augustus and (Candice) Wiggins," said Thibault before the game. "We played LA in LA the first night that Candace Parker didn't play. We may or may not have won those games, but I don't think you sometimes understand how hard it is...Every team in our conference is good and if you're not playing your best basketball, it's hard."

Even though the Sun played some of their best basketball of the season -- particularly during a 3rd quarter in which they outscored the Storm 29-17 -- they had to contend with the play of Jackson who finished with 31 points on 11-22 shooting and a solid offensive rebounding rate of nearly 14% in addition to three rather difficult three point shots. For all their talk of bad poise, their ability to come back from being down 9 at halftime after allowing 24 points from Jackson in the first half was quite impressive. While vastly improved offensive efficiency in the third quarter was a large part of that, the increased defensive intensity in the third quarter to contain Jackson a bit was no small part of that either.

For more reaction on the game, see StormTracker.