UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Alyssa Thomas and the Connecticut Sun are tough to beat this season, especially at home.
Thomas scored 20 points, Shekinna Stricklen added 16 and the Sun won a franchise-record 12th straight home game with an 81-67 victory over the Seattle Storm on Sunday.
The Sun led 56-54 heading into the fourth quarter when Thomas scored the first four points to spark a 10-2 run that gave Connecticut a double-digit advantage. The Storm (5-4) could only get within eight the rest of the way.
Connecticut (8-1) broke the franchise mark of 11 consecutive regular-season home victories set in 2004-05. During this current run, the Sun’s last loss at home came against Seattle on July 20 last season.
That doesn’t include the playoff loss to Phoenix in the second round. Connecticut has won six straight overall.
Natasha Howard scored 20 points and Jewell Loyd added 15 to lead the Storm, which finished a four-game road trip going 2-2. The Storm plays eight of the next nine at home, starting with the L.A. Sparks on Friday night at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett.
“It’s been a long haul out here and we for the most part have battled,” interim Storm coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “These guys are really good. We ran out of gas a little bit in the fourth quarter. They are a well-coached team. They shoot the ball well.”
Seattle was missing point guard Jordin Canada, who suffered a bone bruise on her knee in a game against Washington on Friday. She didn’t accompany the team to Connecticut, flying home to Seattle. While Canada was missing, the Storm had star Sue Bird on the bench for the game. Bird is out indefinitely after having arthroscopic surgery on her left knee last month.
“It’s doing really well,” Bird said of her knee. “It’s been super easy recovery so far. Taking it easy because they had to do a little more than they anticipated. The first six weeks are boring for me.”
Bird said that Dr. Michael Joyce, who performed the surgery, found a little more than expected and had to make an incision on the side and not just go in arthroscopically.
“It’s been an experience where I didn’t realize how much pain I had been in until it was gone,” Bird said. “Things in your regular life become that much more normal which is really nice. “I felt instant relief … my range of motion is much greater than it was. Forget basketball, it made a difference in my life.”
While she’s been rehabbing, Bird has been paying attention to the U.S. women’s soccer team led by her girlfriend Megan Rapinoe. Bird said she may try to get over to France for the FIFA World Cup title game.
“We have a week off of games. So I can go to France and make it back and not miss a day of practice,” she said. “I may have to log those miles, we’ll see.”