Sun roll past the Liberty in preseason finale

New York - The Connecticut Sun's offense was about what one should expect from a team that's played together for less than two weeks and overhauled their personnel.

The Sun's 60-44 preseason win over the woefully undermanned New York Liberty on Thursday shouldn't be taken as a forerunner to the upcoming WNBA season, but head coach Anne Donovan wants defense to be a key trait in her team's DNA. To that end, New York scored just 13 first-half points and finished shooting 26.7-percent.

"I thought we got off to a great start," Donovan said. "We were on fire defensively. I don't think we were as smooth offensively with the eleven o'clock (a.m.) tip. When you're not in sync you better play defense, and that's what we did to set the tone."

Sun rookie Chiney Ogwumike made 8 of 12 field goals for a game-high 16 points with six rebounds. Allison Hightower had 10 points and four assists, Kelsey Griffin added four rebounds and six steals, and Kelley Cain had six rebounds and four blocks.

Connecticut shot just 32.4 percent.

Essence Carson scored 11 for the Liberty. They were without Tina Charles, who they acquired in an offseason trade with Connecticut, Cappie Pondexter and Plenette Pierson.

The Sun play host to New York in next Friday's season opener (7 p.m.)

"We have 50 points not here yet," Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer said. "Still, the first half was disgusting offensive-wise. We're not ready for the season."

Ogwumike said, "They're going to have a different team out there than we're going to play in the first game."

Thursday was Connecticut's second and final preseason game. It has 14 players under contract and must make two cuts before the start of the regular season.

Belarusian center Yelena Leuchanka was expected to arrive in Connecticut on Thursday after dealing with visa issues. Center Kelsey Bone is expected in Saturday having just finished her Turkish League season on Monday.

n.griffen@theday.com

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