The Connecticut Sun are the WNBA's hottest team.
The Sun have won six straight since they last met the Washington Mystics and will try to avenge that defeat Friday night on the road.
Connecticut (8-6) wasn't considered a contender after finishing last in the WNBA a year ago and trading disgruntled former league MVP Tina Charles to New York in the offseason. A 2-6 start seemed to indicate another losing season was on its way.
Now the Sun are enjoying a surge that has moved them into second place in the Eastern Conference. They can match their longest win streak since a seven-game run July 20-Sept. 5, 2008.
Connecticut is doing it with four new starters since Allison Hightower is out with a sprained knee. The player starting for Hightower is rookie Alyssa Thomas, who had season highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds in her eighth start in Wednesday's 79-69 home win over Chicago.
''I'm definitely a lot more confident,'' Thomas said. ''The more we play, the more confident I get. Credit my teammates for helping me to be comfortable out there.''
Thomas was the No. 4 pick in the draft by the Liberty, who traded her and Kelsey Bone to the Sun in order to obtain Charles. While New York is languishing in last place in the conference, Connecticut's new-look team is on the rise.
Coach Anne Donovan credited the play of Thomas and Bone for Wednesday's win.
''I thought her (Thomas) and Bone really changed things,'' Donovan said. ''They found each other. They played off each other really well."
Thomas wasn't starting when Connecticut fell 74-66 to Washington on June 5. Veterans Kia Vaughn, Monique Currie and Ivory Latta combined for 40 points for the Mystics.
Washington (6-9) then dropped seven of its next eight before ending a four-game slide Tuesday with an 81-70 victory at San Antonio to cap a four-game trip.
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Latta each had 15 points and rookie Stefanie Dolson scored all 10 of her points in a fourth quarter in which the Mystics outscored the Stars 21-14.
''We're pretty desperate,'' coach Mike Thibault said. ''We lost four in a row, we had played well for most of those games, but just didn't finish. So, today, we finally finished one.''
Dolson was questionable after spraining her right knee Sunday, but made 5 of 7 shots and had four blocks in 16 minutes.
''Going in at first, I was a little nervous,'' Dolson said. ''I didn't know how I would feel, but then after playing the first half I felt more comfortable in the second half."
The Sun are 1-4 on the road. They dropped both visits to Washington last year after winning their previous five contests there.
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