Sun knock off Liberty, take over first in Eastern Conference

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Tina Charles scored eight of her 24 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Connecticut Sun to an 85-79 win over the New York Liberty on Tuesday night.

The Sun (9-5) won their third straight game heading into the All-Star break and moved into sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference. Connecticut leads second-place Indiana by percentage points.

"It feels great because I remember last season we had a back-to-back against New York and Atlanta before the All-Star break and we lost both games going into the break," Charles said. "It feels great to go into the break this time around after three wins. It was a tough win but it showed how well we have been playing at home."

Renee Montgomery added 13 points and 10 assists for Connecticut, the lone remaining unbeaten team in the WNBA at home this season (7-0).

Plenette Pierson led New York (9-7) with 18 points.

"I would hope this game gives us the confidence and a mental image of how we're supposed to play," Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "We were really good for long periods of the game tonight."

Essence Carson's basket with 8:48 remaining brought New York, which trailed by as many as 18 in the third quarter, within six at 66-60. But the Sun held New York to three points in the next 5:07 to build a 78-63 lead.

Carson made a 3-pointer with 29.7 seconds left to make it 82-77, but Kara Lawson and Danielle McCray made free throws to seal it.

Lawson had 12 points and McCray scored 10 for the Sun.

Cappie Pondexter had 16 points for the Liberty, Nicole Powell had 14, Carson 11 and Kia Vaughn 10.

The Sun made seven of 10 3-point attempts in the first half and 10 of their final 14 shots of the first half to take a 47-35 lead at the break.

"I'm proud of my team, we didn't give up and I thought Connecticut played very well; there is a reason they are undefeated here," New York coach John Whisenant said. "They had 23 assists and we only had one steal which are indications that our defense allowed them to run their offense. You have to give them credit, they did a nice job."