Published August 23. 2013 4:00AM
Mohegan — The Connecticut Sun dressed eight players Thursday night against perhaps the WNBA's best team. And they really didn't play all that poorly.
But with no Kara Lawson (knee), no Kelly Faris (foot), no Allison Hightower (knee) there was, ultimately, no chance.
It didn't help, too, that the Minnesota Lynx were a little ornery after a loss in Atlanta earlier this week. The Lynx shot a season high 58 percent and beat the Sun, 91-77, before 7,088 at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The Sun (7-18) also tied their franchise record for most losses in a season. There are nine games remaining.
"I told Anne (Sun coach Anne Donovan) before the game that it's really hard to go through this kind of a season," said Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve, who endured a similar summer in 2005 with Charlotte. "I respect the heck out of Anne and the players here. I'm sorry they're going through it. None of us would wish it on each other."
Tina Charles scored a team-high 22 points for the Sun on 10-for-18 shooting and had 12 rebounds. Renee Montgomery, who made 4-of-6 three-pointers, finished with 16 points and five assists, despite a tender ankle.
"Renee played really well," Donovan said. "Guarding Lindsay Whalen, who is so good rim to rim, give Renee a lot of credit. She is playing a lot more minutes than she should be playing right now with that ankle."
The Lynx (19-7) moved a game in front of Los Angeles for first place in the Western Conference. Most of that is thanks to center Rebekkah Brunson, whom Reeve described thusly after the game: "stud."
Brunson scored a season-high 24 points on 11-for-14 shooting and had a team-high 11 rebounds.
"Connecticut definitely got our best effort, which we haven't been putting forth lately," Brunson said. "We knew we had to change our mentality with the way we've been playing."
The Lynx, a modest 6-4 in their last 10 games, lost in Atlanta earlier this week, plagued by a five-point fourth period. And while the Sun pulled to within 10 (72-62) in the fourth period of this game, history didn't repeat.
"Give Minnesota a lot of credit. Their starters, are, in particular, very skilled offensively, very confident," Donovan said. "Defensively, we never seemed to bother them. It didn't matter what lineup we had in there. They shot high 50s, 60s (percent) all night long."
Seimone Augustus scored 18 points while Maya Moore scored 17, Lindsay Whalen had 12 and Janel McCarville added 11 for the Lynx.
"For at least a good week to 10 days, this felt like a most solid victory," Whalen said. "Winning on the road is big at this point of the season. It's huge."
Minnesota shot 66 percent from the field in the first half (21-32), including Monica Wright's running three-pointer at the end of the first period that gave the Lynx a 27-18 lead.
• Charles and Connecticut assistant coach Jen Gillom received rings commemorating the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal the United States Women's Basketball Team won in London before the game. Charles averaged 11 points per game for the team while Gillom was an assistant coach.
Olympic officials have distributed rings this summer in various WNBA cities.