San Antonio – The reverberation of head coach Vickie Johnson’s angry voice echoed through the hallways of the AT&T Center, and spoke volumes about her Stars defensive effort – or lack thereof – after their 85-77 loss to Connecticut Saturday.
It was a postgame tongue-lashing that was definitely in order for the young San Antonio team that again withered down the stretch when it counted most.
Courtney Williams scored 23 points and Alyssa Thomas added 18 for the Sun (2-5) who took advantage of a Stars drought midway through the fourth quarter.
The pair were a two-woman wrecking crew during a key 17-3 run that demoralized the Stars and drew the ire of Johnson.
“We had way too many mental breakdowns tonight,” Johnson said. “We weren’t mentally tough, and I am extremely upset. Out of all of our losses this year, this loss upset me the most because I didn’t see the mental fight for 40 minutes. I made the sacrifice (in 1997) to play in the WNBA, and not to go to the ABL for them. And the way they are playing the game is not what we made the sacrifice for.”
Kayla McBride scored a season-high 27 points for San Antonio and kick-started a fourth quarter comeback that energized the crowd of 7,128 onlookers. Kayla Alexander chipped in a season-high 14.
Trailing by as many as 14 headed into the final period, the Stars mounted a furious charge with a 9-0 run, and by the time McBride connected on a short jumper to trim the lead to 63-60 the arena was rocking.
But a key three-pointer by Connecticut’s Jasmine Thomas, along with a few key baskets from Williams over the final three minutes, helped propel the visitors to the win. San Antonio is now 0-7.
McBride went 7-of-14 from the field, connecting on 4-for-6 from three point range, and was a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line. But she downplayed her efforts.
“At the end of the day we win as a team and we lose as a team,” McBride said. “I don’t think we did the things that we needed to do to win a basketball game in the second half. I’m disappointed that we couldn’t get the stops I know we can get.”
“At this point I am sick of hearing about youth and trying to figure it out. I have been a part of this organization for four years and I am sick of losing. I’m a competitor and the mental aspect part of it is the hardest thing for me right now.”
Making her first ever WNBA start, Kelsey Plum scored eight points and had seven assists and three steals.
“I think our (lack of) ability to communicate, follow the scouting report, schemes and things like that is where we broke down and they (Sun) were able to push through in the fourth quarter,” McBride said. “We just have to string together stops and better offensive possessions.”
San Antonio hosts Seattle Tuesday night.