UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Kia Vaughn had 16 points and eight rebounds as the Washington Mystics beat the Connecticut Sun 74-66 on Thursday night.
Monique Currie had 12 points and five rebounds and Ivory Latta also scored 12 points for the Mystics (4-2). Washington shot 52 percent and outrebounded the Sun 41-29.
Rookie Chiney Ogwumike had 16 points and nine rebounds for Connecticut (2-6) while Alex Bentley scored 12 points and Katie Douglas added 11.
It was the second road win in two games for the Mystics, a promising sign for a franchise that has rebuilt itself over the past two seasons under head coach Mike Thibault. Thibault had coached the Sun for 10 years before being fired after the 2012 season.
“We’ve got veterans, and then we’ve got young players that can get the job done,” Latta said. “Road games always come down to toughness. You’re going into a hostile environment with the crowd. Teams get up for their home games, so, yeah, we’re definitely building toughness.”
Thibault signed Latta and traded for Vaughn last season. He drafted UConn center Stefanie Dolson with the sixth overall pick in this April’s WNBA draft. He also traded forward Crystal Langhorne, who had been one of Washington’s best players for the past five seasons, to the Seattle Storm in exchange for another UConn player, guard Bria Hartley, the seventh overall pick in the draft.
Veteran Kara Lawson, who played the previous four years in Connecticut, was traded to the Mystics during the offseason, too.
The Sun missed 12 of their first 16 shots and trailed 36-25 with 1:12 left in the first half. Connecticut also finished the game missing 12 of their last 13 attempts.
“And we had some good looks in that time period,” Sun coach Anne Donovan said. “It’s just a disappointing thing that we had a great third quarter. I thought our energy defensively led to good offense, led to a lot confidence. And then they came out in the fourth quarter and just came right at us, and it seemed to keep us on our heels the rest of the quarter, even when we had good looks down the stretch.”
The teams exchanged the lead four times in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter before Currie made a jumper to give Washington a one-point lead. Latta scored on a running hook shot in transition to push the Mystics ahead 58-55 with 8:20 minutes left.
Connecticut got as close as a point twice the rest of the game.
“I think our half-court defense has been our savior,” Thibault said. “They got extra shots, but every shot they got in their normal, regular offense was contested.”
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