NEW YORK -- The Liberty did not want to start a three-game West Coast road trip after a loss.
So facing a 16-point deficit, they turned up the defensive pressure Sunday and rallied to beat the Connecticut Sun 77-68. It was the Liberty's last home game before the July 10 WNBA All-Star game.
"This was big," Liberty coach Anne Donovan said. "We recognize we need to play well in the Garden ... our full-court defense looked pretty good tonight."
The Liberty looked as if they were going to be run off their home court in the first quarter.
Liberty guard Cappie Pondexter scored 19 points. She said the team started to come together in a 92-78 win against Tulsa on Friday.
"Everybody's doing their part," Pondexter said.
Especially on defense.
The Liberty held Connecticut to 22 second-half points to take control of the game.
New York's Nicole Powell had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Taj McWilliams-Franklin added 10 points.
The second-half turnaround ruined the homecoming for Sun rookie Tina Charles. The Brooklyn native had 10 points and 16 rebounds, her 11th double-double of the season. But the former UConn star did most of her damage early. She was held scoreless in the second half and only had two rebounds.
Charles was the focal point of the Liberty's halftime adjustment.
"We used all of our posts trying to get her off the glass," Donovan said. "We talked about that at halftime, and our focus was better in the second half."
At times, it was hard to tell which team is near the top of the Eastern Conference standings and which is at the bottom. Connecticut turned the ball over 19 times against the Liberty.
"My disappointment tonight is New York tipped the pressure in the second quarter and beyond, and we didn't handle it well," Sun coach Mike Thibault said.
Donovan said the best is yet to come for the Liberty, who have several new players on this year's roster.
"The only real mainstay from last year is Janel [McCarville]," said Donovan. "When you have that significant change in your key personnel, chemistry, identity and all those things are still coming. I think it's still ahead of us what our identity is."
The Liberty will have a better idea of who they are after road games at Los Angeles, Phoenix and Seattle.