Mike Thibault wasn't nearly as angry early Sunday night as disappointed. He knew that his team, the Connecticut Sun, had an opportunity to move closer to the playoffs and a regular season title against a team with its nine straight losses and without its best player, Olympian Sylvia Fowles.
Disappointment, however, surely won't last beyond tonight (8 p.m., no TV) should the Sun exact some revenge in Chicago. That's because a Connecticut victory would clinch a playoff spot, the Sun's second straight and eighth in 10 summers.
New York's loss in Seattle Sunday night shrunk the Sun's magic number to one.
A win tonight would also enable the Sun to maintain their lead in the Eastern Conference, which stands at 2.5 games over Indiana.
A win tonight, however, will not be easy. While it remains unclear whether Fowles will play — she missed Sunday's game for personal reasons — the Sky exposed the Sun's careless defense Sunday.
"We're getting ready to start our longest road trip of the season and we certainly would have liked to be going on the trip with some momentum, but we're not," guard Kara Lawson said. "Hopefully we can learn from it. The good thing about is we get to go right back out and play them again and we get another opportunity to get a win against them."
The longest trip of the season takes Connecticut through Chicago, San Antonio (Thursday), Atlanta (Sunday) and Washington (next Tuesday).
Chicago has a half-game lead over New York for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Chicago snapped a nine-game losing streak in Connecticut.
"No, any of us are not used to losing like that. For me it was personally tough but just stayed the course," Chicago forward and former UConn great Swin Cash said. "I love the girls in this locker room we have what it takes to win, it's just putting the pieces together."
Thibault said Sunday it's unlikely that forward Asjha Jones (strained Achilles') would play on the trip, but that she is "making progress."