Mohegan - The final score, Phoenix 91, Connecticut 82, suggests it was a relatively competitive game Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Other numbers, however, tell a more accurate story: This, under the circumstances, was one of the most putrid home performances in the Sun's 10 years.
They refused to guard Phoenix forward (and WNBA leading scorer) DeWanna Bonner, who rained 35 points on them. And during the moments a Mercury shot fell errant, Phoenix was there for 45 rebounds, 16 offensive, on a night it outrebounded Connecticut 45-21.
The loss, combined with Indiana's victory at San Antonio, shrunk the Sun's lead in the Eastern Conference to 1.5 games over the Fever. Consider that the Sun lost to a 7-20 team at home while Indiana defeated a 17-win San Antonio team on the road.
Only the Sun's fourth-period rally that cut a 21-point deficit to five in the waning moments made the score respectable.
"You only can come back if you stink it up so bad that they're up by a lot," Sun guard Renee Montgomery said.
"We didn't have the focus we needed. We didn't execute the game plan and we were outplayed," Sun guard Kara Lawson said. "It's a tough thing to swallow because we're a team that has a lot to play for. A team that has big goals. We definitely took a huge step backward tonight. There's nothing positive we can take. Absolutely nothing."
Sun coach Mike Thibault was dumbstruck at the rebound differential. At halftime, the Sun had zero offensive rebounds and were being outrebounded 21-7.
"When you get beat that badly on the boards ... at least 50 percent of rebounding is effort," Thibault said. "In the first half, zero offensive rebounds, (outrebounded) 21-7 is almost an unheard of stat for us. I don't know if I can remember a game even close to that."
Bonner made 12 of 23 field goals and six 3-pointers, including one inside the final minute that pushed Phoenix's lead from five to eight and sent many in the crowd of 8,379 to the exits.
"I asked our players afterward if they understood Bonner is the leading scorer in the league," Thibault said. "I was wondering if they did. We showed them clips with her range. She's not afraid to shoot it from really deep."
Montgomery said: "She made a lot of open shots. For somebody leading the league in scoring, that's unacceptable."
Phoenix coach Corey Gaines said after the game it was his decision to play Diana Taurasi 17 minutes, only five in the second half. Taurasi said before the game she was healthy. She had 16 points.
"They gave us a break by only playing (Taurasi) 17 minutes," Thibault said. "They could have left her out there. They felt like they could win with the ones they had. And they did."
Montgomery led the Sun with 25 points, including a pair of four-point plays in the first half. Tina Charles had 18 (with three rebounds) and Danielle McCray had 14.
Krystal Thomas had 16 rebounds (five shy of the Sun total) for Phoenix.
"A terribly disappointing loss," Thibault said. "Great crowd, amped up. We play like that, it's hard to comprehend."