Sun beat Liberty for third straight

Connecticut's Tina Charles (31) drives past New York's Plenette Pierson during the Sun's 85-79 victory Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. Charles had 24 points and seven rebounds
Connecticut's Tina Charles (31) drives past New York's Plenette Pierson during the Sun's 85-79 victory Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. Charles had 24 points and seven rebounds

Mohegan - Kara Lawson and Kalana Greene made back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half to give the Connecticut Sun a double-digit lead over the New York Liberty Tuesday.

Eight of the nine players who saw action for the Sun scored.

Connecticut's defensive effort was better for longer stretches than it had been for most of the first half of the WNBA season.

The Sun headed into the All-Star break with an 85-79 win over New York before 6,096 at Mohegan Sun Arena. It was their third straight win and put them in first place in the Eastern Conference.

Now that's how you want to go into an All-Star break.

"It gives us a little confidence and kind of shows us when we have defensive intensity what were capable of," Connecticut's Asjha Jones said. "It's kind of a prototype - this is what we have to do when we come back from the break. And it also gives us a little cushion. We're not desperate coming out of the break."

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

Center Tina Charles (24 points, seven rebounds) and guard Renee Montgomery (13 points, 10 assists) are both headed to Saturday's All-Star Game in San Antonio. Charles was voted a starter by the fans, and Montgomery was named a reserve Tuesday in a vote of the coaches.

The rest of the Sun (9-5) get to relax until Sunday and feel good about themselves.

"We didn't want to go in (feeling) down," Greene said. "We've got a bunch of days of, and you want to feel good on your days off."

Kara Lawson had 12 points for Connecticut and rookie Danielle McCray had 11 points and four rebounds. Greene added 10 points, and Tan White provided valuable defensive minutes. Nicole Powell had 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for New York (9-7).

The Sun led, 39-33, with one minute, 30 seconds left in the second quarter when they got into a serious groove. It was highlighted by Lawson and Greene's back-to-back 3-pointers as Connecticut led at halftime, 47-35.

A McCray free throw with 6:35 left in the third quarter pushed the Sun's edge to 56-39.

New York refused to be put away and cut the deficit to 82-77 with 29.3 seconds left.

The Sun, however, had done enough before that point, and after, to secure the win.

"We definitely wanted to finish the first half on a good note with some momentum," Lawson said. "Although you should play with urgency and you should play with desperation all the time, teams right after the All-Star break tend to try to take it up a notch and make a push.

"We want to put ourselves in the best possible position before that starts."

. RuthAnn Lobo, mother of former UConn and Sun star Rebecca Lobo, died Tuesday at the age of 67 from cancer, UConn associate director of athletics Mike Enright told the Associated Press.

RuthAnn Lobo was an advocate for breast cancer awareness. She and Rebecca co-authored the 1996 book "The Home Team," which chronicled RuthAnn's battle with breast cancer. RuthAnn was a teacher and school counselor in Connecticut for 30 years and, in 2003, became the first recipient of a statewide award honoring individuals for their impact through Title IX. She was the Title IX coordinator for Granby Public Schools at the time.

n.griffen@theday.com

Connecticut's Renee Montgomery, left, looks to pass while being guarded by New York's Quantrina Hollingsworth during the first half Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Sun beat the Liberty 85-79 for their third straight victory.
Connecticut's Renee Montgomery, left, looks to pass while being guarded by New York's Quantrina Hollingsworth during the first half Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Sun beat the Liberty 85-79 for their third straight victory.

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