Whalen Leads Sun to OT Win Over Monarchs

Connecticut 82, Sacramento 78

SACRAMENTO, July 12 (AP) -- Lindsay Whalen had 22 points and eight assists and Connecticut outlasted Sacramento 82-78 in overtime Thursday night.

Whalen hit a layup with 4.1 seconds left in regulation to force the extra period, and the Sun (9-11) finished off a four-game Western road swing with their third straight win.

Nykesha Sales topped all scorers with 23 for Connecticut. The Sun played without Asjha Jones, who wasn't with the team because of a family emergency. Jones, who is averaging 15.9 points and 6.6 rebounds, may also miss Sunday's All-Star game.

Nicole Powell and Adrian Williams each had 15 points for the Monarchs (12-8), who led 66-63 with 1:13 left in regulation.

The Sun, however, took advantage of three missed free throws in the last 16.1 seconds, and a defensive breakdown on an inbounds play that allowed Whalen's wide-open, game-tying layup.

Connecticut made its first five shots and jumped out to a 10-2 lead, but the Monarchs responded with a 13-0 run, sparked by Rebekkah Brunson's block of a shot by 7-foot-2 Margo Dydek.

Sacramento outscored the Sun 24-5 over the next 11:59, building an 11-point lead. Connecticut had a 19-4 edge in the final 6:05 of the first half and went to the locker room with a 34-30 lead.

Neither team could string much together in the second half, and the lead changed hands a remarkable 17 times. With Dydek clogging the middle, the Sun's zone defense forced the Monarchs to shoot from the perimeter - and they were just 2-for-14 from three-point range.

The Sun took the lead for good with 2:44 remaining in overtime on a pair of Whalen free throws, and put the game away after a disputed over-and-back call led to a technical on Ticha Penicheiro.

Connecticut, which had gone through a 1-8 stretch, has now won four out of five, and if the season ended today, would be back in the playoffs.