NEW YORK (AP) The Connecticut Sun have made the most of a brutal early season schedule.
Connecticut spent 17 of 19 days on the road and had to play Minnesota three times in the first 10 games and yet the Sun are sitting at .500. They started the season 0-4 and have won five of six despite missing starters Morgan Tuck - knee bruise - and Alex Bentley - EuroBasket tournament. Connecticut also has been without its top post reserve as Lynetta Kizer is dealing with a back issue.
''We lost three close games early in the year by two points,'' Connecticut coach Curt Miller said. ''This young group is learning how to get to the finish line and learning how to win games close. More than anything they've just stuck together, believe and stayed in the system for what we wanted to accomplish.''
The Sun moved up to seventh in The Associated Press WNBA power poll this week, their best ranking ever since the poll started last year.
Connecticut visits New York on Friday for its lone game this week.
POWER POLL: Minnesota suffered its first loss of the season, but still sits atop power poll. A look at this week's WNBA poll.
1. Minnesota (9-1): Maybe the Lynx were rusty playing just one game this week. Connecticut ended the Lynx's unbeaten run, but look for Minnesota to refocus.
2. Los Angeles (8-3): The Sparks got dominant efforts from Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike to win their three games last week, including a rout of Phoenix
3. Washington (7-4): After a shocking home loss to Dallas, the Mystics now travel to Minnesota.
4. New York (7-4): Shavonte Zellous helped the Liberty avoid an 0-2 road swing, hitting tying shot to force OT against Dallas and New York prevailed. One game against Connecticut this week.
5. Seattle (6-5): A blowout win of San Antonio doesn't mean that the Storm have solved their recent woes. They host Phoenix on Friday.
6. Phoenix (6-5): Diana Taurasi is the league's all-time leading scorer now. The Mercury need to find a way to stop someone or it won't matter how many points they can score.
7. Connecticut (5-5): The Sun are playing well right now with wins over New York and Minnesota. No team is playing better right now, and they are doing it with a depleted roster.
8. Indiana (6-6): Showed some grit in road win over Chicago. Have emotional game on Saturday with Tamika Catchings' jersey retirement ceremony.
9. Atlanta (5-5): Dream finally ended skid with win in Seattle and finally get to return home after long bi-coastal swing.
10. Dallas (5-8): The Wings were a couple possessions away from a 3-0 week. Instead they had to settle for a road win in Washington. Still trying to find consistency on both ends of the court.
11. Chicago (2-9): The Sky are still trying to find themselves on offense and defense, but look headed to the lottery again.
12. San Antonio (0-11): Kelsey Plum returned to Washington and had one of the better games of her young career. Unfortunately the outcome was the same.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Sparks at Fever, Saturday. The Fever will retire Tamika Catchings' jersey on Saturday when Candace Parker leads Los Angeles into Indianapolis. It will surely be an emotional day for the Fever.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Diana Taurasi moved into the top spot on the WNBA career scoring list with 19 points against Los Angeles on Sunday . She passed Tina Thompson's mark with a layup late in the first half. Taurasi received a warm ovation from the Sparks crowd that included former Lakers great Kobe Bryant.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Alyssa Thomas, Sun. Thomas' huge week on both ends of the court helped Connecticut to two more victories. She had to guard both Tina Charles and Maya Moore and did a solid job on both stars. On the offensive end, Thomas averaged 19 points, 7 rebounds and 6.5 assists. Other players receiving votes included Candace Parker and Shavonte Zellous.
To find the poll online: http://collegebasketball.ap.org/ap-wnba-power-poll-week-6
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