It was a special occasion at Key Arena Tuesday, as the Connecticut Sun came to Seattle to face the Storm in what became a lopsided 79-58 victory for the visiting Sun.
Before tipoff, the Storm recognized Crystal Langhorne for surpassing the 3,000-point milestone. The game also was a reunion on many levels, with Camille Little and Shekinna Stricklen returning to Seattle, for the first time since being traded for Renee Montgomery during the offseason.
Between them and Connecticut head coach Anne Donovan, the Sun featured major pieces from both Storm championship teams. It was this experience and leadership, that would quickly separate the Sun from the Storm on the scoreboard.
The Storm, who appeared much looser and familiar with each other in warmups than they had in the previous contests, got out to a quick start behind the nine first quarter points of Langhorne. At the end of the first period, Seattle held a 19-17 advantage.
From there on out it was all Sun as the visiting squad outscored the Storm in each of the remaining three periods, including 24-11 in the second quarter.
"I felt like we got stagnant," said Storm head coach Jenny Boucek. "Against teams that pressure you, when you get stagnant, they start getting more aggressive. When you start getting tentative, they smell blood and it was a cycle."
The Storm's tentative play resulted in 22 Seattle turnovers that led to 32 Connecticut points, most coming on fast breaks.
"They're young, and they are very athletic, that's what they like to do," Storm guard Sue Bird said after the loss. "I don't know if we make them look better than they are or that's the real them, but they have been winning so they are doing something right."
Leading the charge for the Sun was rookie guard Chelsea Gray who finished with 16 points on 6-9 shooting, including a perfect 4-4 from deep. Every time the Storm even thought about getting back into the game, Gray was there to knock down a three and suck all momentum from Seattle.
"I try to (provide a spark) every time I come into the game," said Gray. "I just try to get people open looks and play as well as I can defensively. I try to set the tone early when I come in the game."
Three other Sun players reached double figures. Little and Alex Bentley both contributed 12 and Alyssa Thomas added 11 in the winning effort.
The Storm were led by the 13 points and six rebounds from Langhorne. Only Alysha Clark who started her third consecutive game, would join Langhorne in reaching double figures for Seattle.
Also of note were the eight points apiece from Jewell Loyd and Bird. Bird also added four assists. Jenna O'Hea also dished out a game high six assists in the losing effort.
Connecticut (4-1) next plays Friday at Phoenix
Seattle (2-3) next plays at home Sunday against Phoenix