Mohegan - The clock struck 12. Then 11 ... 10 ... and there was Kara Lawson chasing the ball near the out-of-bounds line, still 25 feet from the basket. Briann January of the Indiana Fever, guarding Lawson, went for the steal and was nearly successful, eliciting a gasp from the 6,503 fans at Mohegan Sun Arena, all of whom were standing by now.
This was in the final seconds Tuesday night, Sun leading by a point in overtime, but in danger of losing the ball via January's poke check or a shot clock violation. But then Lawson, resourceful as she is accurate, regained control, spun and darted toward the basket, with the urgency of stealing second base in the bottom of the ninth.
Lawson pulled up and made a 17-footer, delighting the crowd and more importantly giving the Sun a three-point lead with 5.2 seconds left. January's desperation 3 fell short at horn and the Sun emerged with an 88-85 win.
"This is giving me a headache," Sun coach Mike Thibault said after the game, either alluding to his team's 15 turnovers or the fact that the two teams have to do this again Thursday night in Indianapolis.
Thibault's team, however, held Indiana without a point for the final 2:34 and engineered just enough offense to stay atop the Eastern Conference at 9-2.
Much of that is because of Lawson, who led the Sun with 22 points.
She made two free throws with 2:39 left in the fourth period which gave Connecticut an 81-76 lead at the time. But Indiana (5-4) scored the last five points of regulation, capped by Tamika Catchings' drive and score with 13.2 seconds left.
Asjha Jones' 15-footer at the buzzer rolled out, forcing overtime.
Katie Douglas, who led Indiana with 23 points, scored the Fever's two baskets of overtime, the second of which gave her team an 85-83 lead. To think, Sun guard Allison Hightower was chasing Douglas everywhere but the powder room, too.
"I don't get discouraged," Hightower said. "Once a player scores, I feel the adrenaline and I don't want them to score again. It's tough with Katie. She's a great player, one of the best in the league."
With the Sun trailing 85-84, Hightower drove, drew a defender and dished to Tina Charles, whose layup with 41.7 seconds left gave the Sun an 86-85 lead.
"Alley Cat (Hightower) gave us some huge minutes," Renee Montgomery said.
Charles went a period of 13:39 seconds without a point between the third period and overtime. She finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.
"It's good we can still win against top teams without Tina having a huge night," Lawson said.
Kalana Greene and Montgomery had 12 points apiece for the Sun and Hightower had 10.
Catchings had 14 for the Fever, while January had 12, Erin Phillips had 11 and Jessica Davenport scored 10.
"A great win," Thibault said. "As much as we gave away down the stretch, to get our composure back in overtime and make big plays, that says a lot."