Rosemont, Ill. - Tina Charles had 24 points and 14 rebounds to help the Connecticut Sun clinch a WNBA playoff berth with an 83-72 win over the Chicago Sky on Tuesday in an Eastern Conference game played before 2,884 at the Allstate Arena.
Charles recorded her 13th double-double of the season as the conference-leading Sun (18-6) improved to 9-2 on the road.
Kara Larson had 18 points and six assists while Renee Montgomery added 15, including 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
"Obviously, it's the expectation every year, but it's hard to do," Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said. "We've earned it, but it's just the first step in a journey."
Lawson said, "Obviously, that's a goal at the start of the season so for us to do it for the second year in a row, we're happy to get it out of the way. Now we can focus on positioning and how we are playing."
Reserve Courtney Vandersloot scored 17 points to lead five Chicago players in double figures. U.S. Olympian Swin Cash added 15 points, and Carolyn Swords, Epiphanny Prince and Sonja Petrovic each had 10 for the Sky (9-15).
Chicago had beaten Connecticut on Sunday at Mohegan Sun Arena, 82-70, to snap a nine-game losing streak.
"I thought we did a better job tonight on guarding their pick and roll and stopping the ball," Thibault said.
The Sun played their sixth straight game without U.S. Olympic forward Asjha Jones, who is sidelined by a strained left Achilles tendon.
The Sky were without another Olympian, center Sylvia Fowles (the WNBA's rebounding leader), for the second straight game.
Vandersloot scored eight straight points in the first quarter as the Sky surged from a 13-6 deficit to a 14-13 lead with 2:32 showing. The Sun jumped back ahead on a Lawson jumper, went on to a 21-20 lead by quarter's end and never trailed again.
Charles scored 10 second-quarter points and Connecticut took control with a 13-2 run that opened a 40-27 lead with 3:06 left.
"It's harder without Syl (playing)," Charles said of her Chicago counterpart. "With Syl there, there are no double-teams on me."
Chicago, which shot 12 of 38 (31.6 percent) from the field in the first half, never got closer than nine as the Sun opened a 44-33 advantage by halftime.
The Sun led 58-44 after three quarters and the lead hit 21 midway through the fourth when Jessica Moore hit a 3-pointer to open a 73-52 lead.
Fowles was absent for personal reasons, according to a team spokesman. She leads the WNBA in rebounding (11.4) and is seventh in scoring (17.6 points).
The Sun limited the Sky to 4 for 24 shooting from 3-point range. Chicago had hit 10 last Sunday.
Connecticut is at San Antonio on Thursday as it continues its four-game road trip.