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Starting Faris paid off immediately for Sun

By Mike DiMauro

Publication: The Day

Published August 16. 2013 4:00AM

Connecticut Sun coach Anne Donovan, maintaining a sense of humor during what has been a summer of discontent, cracked that another loss last Sunday in Washington was "nothing a few martinis couldn't cure."

Say this much for Donovan, however: She was a sage between sips. Because between last weekend's loss at Washington and Wednesday's win over Atlanta, she decided to move rookie Kelly Faris into the starting lineup.

Faris responded with 11 points and some late-game defense against Angel McCoughtry, helping the Sun to a two-point victory.

"She's just so composed at both ends of the floor," Donovan said. "She gave up some shots (to the Dream on offense), but the ones she took she knocked down with such composure.

"It was great to see Atlanta sprinting out at her at the end of the game, trying to get to her before she took a shot. She's on their scouting report, moving forward, for the next game I'm sure."

Donovan will see for sure tonight when the Sun play at Atlanta (7:30 p.m., NBA TV). Connecticut (7-15) maintains faint playoff hopes while Atlanta (11-9) has lost seven of eight and is in desperate need of a victory.

Stopping Faris would be a good start.

Donovan said that Faris returned from the all-star break a different and perhaps more confident player. Her work defending Washington's Monique Currie last Sunday earned her the start Wednesday.

"It was her intensity," Donovan said. "It's a (UConn) thing. There's not a lot of rah-rah from those players. It's business all the way in practice. And it carries over."

The Sun played Wednesday without starter Allison Hightower, who tweaked her knee during Tuesday's workout. Hightower said she has been dealing with the issue for a while now. Donovan said Hightower is day-to-day.

m.dimauro@theday.com

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