Connecticut (9-3) at Washington (2-9)

By NOEY KUPCHAN, STATS Writer Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 Kickoff: 7:00 pm EDT Fri Jun 29, 2012

The Eastern Conference-leading Connecticut Sun played like anything but a first-place team their last time out.

A week off and a matchup with the last-place Washington Mystics could be just what they need to bounce back.

Coming off the most lopsided defeat in franchise history, the visiting Sun try for a sixth straight win over the sliding Mystics on Friday night.

Connecticut (9-3) hasn’t played since last Thursday, when it entered Indiana on a three-game winning streak but was blown out 95-61 in the back end of a home-and-home set. Leading the East with 83.5 points per game, the Sun were limited to 32.8 percent shooting and posted their lowest scoring output of the year.

“They competed better than us right from the get-go,” said coach Mike Thibault, who was ejected in the third quarter for arguing with officials. “I just wish we could have played better.”

Connecticut has to like its chances of getting back on track against Washington (2-9), which is looking to avoid a season-high fifth consecutive loss.

The Sun took all four matchups with the Mystics last season by an average of 15.5 points and won the only meeting this season, 94-86 on June 3.

Tina Charles recorded a season-high 30 points in that game and outshined Washington’s Crystal Langhorne, who scored a season-best 25.

The Mystics wasted another impressive performance from Langhorne on Tuesday, falling 79-71 to Seattle despite 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from their All-Star forward. Washington’s other four starters went a combined 5 of 16 from the field, scoring just 17 points.

The Mystics, who entered the second quarter down 17-10, have not led after the opening period in any game this season.

“We talked about playing better but we didn’t,” coach Trudi Lacey said. “We have the same concern that we only play three quarters well and one quarter not well and this particular game we didn’t start off well.”

Besides another high-scoring display from Langhorne, Washington likely needs others to step up if it hopes to have a chance Friday. The Mystics have lost eight of nine and are averaging a league-low 68.8 points.

“We are just going to have to make a lot of adjustments,” said Langhorne, who has five 20-point efforts in her last seven games. “Offensively, we need to execute really well. Defensively, we have to go against Tina Charles and Asjha Jones. We’re going to have to be on point on both sides of the ball.”

Charles and Jones both proved difficult to contain during Connecticut’s last visit to the nation’s capital. Charles had 24 points and 15 rebounds while Jones posted 16 and 10, respectively, in a 79-48 rout Sept. 4.

Updated Thursday, Jun 28, 2012

Team Comparison

Team Record Standings Road/Home vs. Conf. Streak L10
Connecticut 25-9 1st East Road 13-4 18-4 Won 3 7-3
Washington 5-29 6th East Home 4-13 3-19 Lost 13 0-10

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