Published June 17. 2013 4:00AM
Mohegan - Tina Charles was slouched way down in her chair in the Connecticut Sun locker room Sunday, talking about why the team looked way out of sorts during a 78-66 loss to the Seattle Storm.
"We came out flat," Charles said. "In the second half we came out flat. Coach (Anne Donovan) gave us a great motivational speech coming out in the beginning and after halftime, but we came out flat.
"Things weren't going our way. It's just really frustrating."
Connecticut (2-5) looked listless before 6,550 at Mohegan Sun Arena. Worse, it couldn't find its way against a Storm team that has dealt with more adversity than it has. Superstars Sue Bird (knee) and Lauren Jackson (hamstring) are out this entire season for Seattle (2-3).
The Storm were tied with Connecticut for ninth in field goal percentage (39.1) prior to Sunday.
Seattle shot 50-percent against the Sun and had four players score in double figures - Tina Thompson (17), Shekinna Stricklen (16), Camille Little (15) and Tanisha Wright (13).
"We were enabling them to get into the paint," Connecticut's Kara Lawson said. "(They had) second-chance opportunities. And then, when they scored, you can't run. You're running up against their set defense.
"Credit them - they never allowed us to get into a rhythm on the offensive end."
Allison Hightower scored a team-high 17 with five rebounds for the Sun while Lawson scored 11.
Charles struggled as much as anyone offensively for Connecticut. She scored 15, but missed 13 of 18 shots. A big reason for her troubles was settling for jumpers instead of attacking the basket.
"My mindset should be that," Charles said. "But at the same time, in my mind, I'm thinking, 'is there a double team?' It's just me, mentally. That's what it is."
The Storm also outhustled Connecticut on the boards, 35-27. Little had a game-high nine.
"Truthfully, when people rebound like that, it takes the winds out of your sails," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "The same thing happened against New York (in Friday's 78-68 loss). They just came at us with a barrage of offensive rebounds (11)."
Charles, who's been the league's rebounding leader in all three of her pro seasons, had six rebounds.
"We're doing terrible at that (rebounding), and I take responsibility for that as well," Charles said. "We have to come out more aggressively."
Two sequences showed just how bad things were for Connecticut Sunday. The first came with it leading, 17-16, late in the first quarter.
Stricklen, a reserve, scored eight straight points to push the Storm ahead, 24-21. She scored six of those points on layups.
Stricklen averaged 7.8 points prior to Sunday. She scored 11 in less than 11 minutes in the first half.
The second dismal Sun sequence came with less than seven minutes left in the second half and Seattle leading, 42-39.
Thompson grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled by starter Kelsey Griffin. It was Griffin's first foul, and she picked up two more in the next 27 seconds.
Thompson made the second of two free throws. Stricklen, Wright and Thompson then made successive 3-pointers to push Seattle's lead to 52-39.
"It's just frustrating, things we have to figure out," Charles said.