Published July 13. 2013 4:00AM
Mohegan - The Connecticut Sun began Friday's game getting blowtorched as the Chicago Sky scored the first 12 points.
And that was the ballgame.
Oh, Connecticut gave its faithful a few rays of hope here-and-there, yet there was little it could do to stop the Sky during its 83-70 loss before 6,285 at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The score wasn't indicative of how badly the Sun (3-9) struggled with Chicago. They missed their first 10 shots and didn't score for the game's first four minutes.
The Sky led by as much as 22 points on three separate occasions. That included an 83-61 deficit with two minutes, 27 seconds left in the game.
"Chicago (came out aggressive)," Connecticut's Tina Charles said. "They threw that first punch, and we were just trying to get back into the game."
Ridiculously talented rookie Elena Delle Donne had 23 points and five rebounds for the Sky. Swin Cash added 19 points and eight rebounds, and Sylvia Fowles had 14 points and eight rebounds.
"We have been able to come back out of a hole (like that)," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "But it was a big one, no doubt. When you're playing a team with so many weapons, it's very hard to do that."
It was the Sun's sixth loss in seven games as it continues its worst start in franchise history.
Charles scored a game-high 29 with six rebounds. Mistie Bass was the only other Connecticut player to score in double figures (13), all of which came in the fourth quarter. Allison Hightower scored nine.
Kara Lawson returned for the Sun after missing the last four games to a knee injury. She had nine points and five rebounds.
Connecticut is still without guards Renee Montgomery (high ankle sprain) and Tan White (broken finger).
"Of course it's frustrating," Charles said of the losing, "but everybody is coming back little-by-little, week-by-week. We just have to keep on going with who we have."
Prince made two free throws less than a minute into the game, followed by a Cash layup.
Fowles, all 6-foot-6 of her, somehow got behind the Sun defense for a transition layup. She added a hook shot moments later to give the Sky an 8-0 lead.
Donovan called timeout to stop the onslaught. It didn't work. Cash made two free throws. Vandersloot's long jumper pushed Chicago ahead, 12-0.
The game was just three minutes, seven seconds old. A Hightower layup with 5:46 left in the period finally got Connecticut on the board.
"The bottom line for us is we've got to shoot the ball better," Donovan said. "We just have to have more than Tina carrying us out of that starting lineup. And when we aren't shooting well, we have to get more focused defensively than we were.
"There is a lot of room for improvement. It's a must."