Sun-Silver Stars Preview
By NOEY KUPCHAN
(AP) -- The Eastern Conference-leading Connecticut Sun opened a season-high four-game trip with their WNBA-best ninth road victory earlier this week.
However, they're all but certain to be in for a tough test Thursday night against a San Antonio Silver Stars team that's been nearly unbeatable at home.
The Sun and Silver Stars, winners of nine straight on their own court, square off in a matchup featuring two of the league's top teams.
Connecticut (18-6) salvaged a home-and-home split against the Sky with Tuesday's 83-72 victory at Chicago. MVP candidate Tina Charles posted her 13th double-double with 24 points and 14 rebounds as the Sun improved to 9-2 as the visiting club.
A repeat performance, though, could be hard to come by versus San Antonio (17-7). Since falling 77-63 to the Sky on May 30, the Silver Stars have outscored opponents by an average of 16.1 points during their home winning streak.
San Antonio doesn't carry much momentum into this game after suffering a 96-84 overtime defeat at the hands of WNBA-leading Minnesota on Tuesday. Sophia Young and Jia Perkins scored 19 points apiece while Becky Hammon, who missed a potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation, had 13 on 4-of-16 shooting.
The Silver Stars were outrebounded 52-31, allowing 29 second-chance points on 19 offensive boards.
"When you get on the road and are playing good teams and they reach that kind of intensity you find out what you do well and what you don't do well," said coach Dan Hughes, whose team has dropped two of three following a team-record 12 consecutive victories.
"As tough as it is to lose, I think there's a learning possibility from this type of game."
San Antonio had won three straight matchups in this series before falling 83-79 at Connecticut on May 25. Charles had 18 points and eight rebounds while Asjha Jones scored 16 for the Sun, who held the Silver Stars to 37.9 percent shooting.
"It's a really good win," coach Mike Thibault said following that victory. "That's a good team that we've struggled with. I think we've lost three of the last four times we played them. I thought, for the most part, we did a pretty good defensive job."
Connecticut will likely need to put on another stingy defensive display if it hopes to stick around in this one. San Antonio's 45.2 field-goal percentage ranks second in the league.
The Silver Stars, meanwhile, will try to keep the Sun off the line. Connecticut is making a WNBA-best 82.2 percent of its free throws.
Updated August 29, 2012