Sting 71


Sun 76

(13-5, 7-2 home)

    7:00 PM ET, July 6, 2006

    Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHA 15 16 16 2471
    CONN 17 18 16 2576

    Top Performers

    Charlotte: T. Smith 17 Pts, 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Connecticut: L. Whalen 20 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl

    Sun hang on, complete season sweep of Sting

    UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) -- The Charlotte Sting had one last shot at beating Connecticut in the regular season after losing the first three of the series.

    Lindsay Whalen wouldn't let them.

    Whalen had a season-high 20 points and made all 12 of her free throws to lead the Sun to a 76-71 win over Charlotte Thursday night.

    Charlotte tied it three times in the final 3 minutes, but the Sun's free-throw shooting and timely defense made the difference down the stretch. Connecticut was 14-of-14 from the line in the closing minutes and Whalen hit all eight of her free-throw attempts in that stretch.

    "I tried to get myself off the pick-and-roll. It was like whatever happened I was either going to get fouled or something good was going to happen," Whalen said. "I don't think I made a shot in that time but I just kept getting to the line."

    Whalen's 12-for-12 effort matches a franchise high and ties her previous mark set last season against Phoenix.

    Taj McWilliams-Franklin had 12 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots for the Sun (13-5). Margo Dydek finished with 13 points and nine rebounds for Connecticut. The Sting (3-14) have lost nine straight to the Sun.

    Tangela Smith had 17 points to lead Charlotte, which has lost three straight.

    Both teams had trouble taking care of the ball and combined for 31 turnovers.

    "I don't think we played great in some stretches," Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "I guess you're going to have games like that. They're kind of ugly. But as long as you win them. Some of them we've lost."

    Whalen had 10 points and four assists in the first half to give the Sun a 35-31 halftime lead. She had eight of those points in the final five minutes, including one acrobatic reverse layup between two defenders with 1:05 remaining.

    "It was very disappointing," Smith said. "We don't have too many wins and this would have been a great win. We can't say we didn't have the effort."

    Connecticut never trailed and built its biggest lead with 6:30 left in the game when Nykesha Sales' scoop layup gave the Sun a 62-55 edge. Smith and Helen Darling brought the Sting back with an 11-4 run to tie it at 66 with 1:51 left. The teams traded baskets over the next minute and Smith's jumper in the lane tied it again at 70. It would be the closest the Sting would get.

    Dydek put the Sun ahead for good with a pair of free throws with 23.8 left.

    The Sun's defense squelched any chance for a Sting comeback. Connecticut's Katie Douglas knocked the ball loose from Darling, and Sun teammate Megan Mahoney came up with it with under 10 seconds to play.

    "I don't know if we were on one cylinder or two cylinders but we definitely weren't on all cylinders tonight," said Douglas, who finished with 11 points.

    Tammy Sutton-Brown had 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots for Charlotte. Darling had a season-high eight assists and scored five of her seven points in the final 3:13. Sheri Sam added 12 and Kelly Mazzante scored 10 off the bench.

    Whalen, who was picked for her first-All-Star game Wednesday, joins Dydek and Sales in the starting lineup in next week's contest at Madison Square Garden.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

      Charlotte Connecticut
    Points 71 76
    FG Made-Attempted 29-73 (.000) 25-61 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 3-11 (.273) 2-13 (.154)
    FT Made-Attempted 10-13 (.000) 24-27 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-30 11-36
    Assists 19 18
    Turnovers 14 15
    Steals 12 10
    Blocks 6 9
    Fast Break Points 7 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 16 (0/0)