WATCH AND LISTEN

20090621/SANCON
Silver Stars-Sun Preview
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO, STATS Writer

The Connecticut Sun appeared to carry last season's collapse into 2009. A convincing victory may have been just what they needed to gain some confidence.

The Sun hope to get another boost Sunday as they attempt to beat the shorthanded San Antonio Silver Stars for the first time in three years.

Connecticut (2-3) closed the 2008 season by losing three of four to finish second in the Eastern Conference before falling to New York in the first round of the playoffs.

Those struggles continued this season, as the Sun lost three of four before never trailing in a 91-61 win over Chicago on Friday. Connecticut's first home win of the year gave the team a split of the home-and-home series following Tuesday's 78-75 road defeat.

"This is the team I recognize. Finally," said coach Mike Thibault, who has guided the Sun to three conference titles and two WNBA finals appearances since taking the helm in 2003. "This was the best of all worlds. We scored. We rebounded. We needed a game like that."

Tan White will try to build on a surprising performance. The guard had 13 points and five assists off the bench Friday, just hours after being signed as a free agent.

White averaged 9.2 points on 36.7 percent shooting in 135 games - 34 starts - over four seasons with Indiana after being drafted second overall in 2005.

Despite their uneven performances, the Sun have been solid defensively. They're allowing 69.0 points per game to rank third in the league.

The Sun have lost all four matchups with the Silver Stars (1-2) over the last two seasons. That slide includes two losses at Mohegan Sun Arena after Connecticut won each of the previous five home meetings.

San Antonio will have to endure another game without star guard Becky Hammon, who is playing with Russia in the European championships. She leads the Silver Stars with 18.0 points and 6.0 assists per game.

Without Hammon, the Stars trailed by 21 after the first quarter Friday before falling 77-61 at previously winless New York, splitting a home-and-home series after Hammon scored 16 points in a 63-60 win June 13.

"It was the separation in the first quarter," Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes said following Friday's defeat. "Our next three quarters were how we envisioned the game would be played. We did not defend particularly well, we did not value the ball really. We evolved into a tempo we wanted to play, but we did not start at that tempo."

The team also could be without guard Shanna Crossley, who left Friday's loss midway through the fourth quarter with a sprained left knee after scoring 12 points off the bench. Her status is uncertain. However, she missed the previous contest against the Liberty with the same injury.

Calendar Strip here