White provides spark for Sun
Washington - It was Camp Day here Tuesday, an occasion for thousands and thousands of kids to create a fingernails-on-the-chalkboard din that provided the acoustics for the last day of the Connecticut Sun's three-city road trip. They also wore bright T-shirts that reflected their various groups, giving Verizon Center all the colors of a box of Tide.
Two colors, however, not represented among the campers: tan and white.
And it turned out that Tan White is the reason the Sun sent them home disappointed.
White scored nine of her 11 points in the final 11 minutes and the Sun completed a 3-for-3 road trip with a 77-70 win over Washington before 12,569 fans.
The Sun (13-4) earned their seventh road win, eclipsing last season's total. They're 7-1 on the road and maintained their 2.5-game lead over Indiana in the Eastern Conference.
Connecticut and Washington do it all over again tonight at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Kara Lawson led the Sun with 17 points (and some clutch, late free throws) and Tina Charles added 16. But it was White's late scoring that made for a more pleasant plane ride.
"Whether I'm a factor in the game or not, I've got to be focused in and ready when my number is called," White said. "When I got in the game, I was assertive."
Good thing, too. White made all four of her shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, offsetting Renee Montgomery's sudden shooting disorder. Montgomery is 8 for her last 47 from the field.
"Tan was terrific," Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "She and Kalana (Greene) have kind of been tag-teaming teams lately. I had a debate whether to take her out and put Kalana back in, but when she made that three, I figured I might as well just stay with what we've got."
Thibault alluded to White's 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left in the third period that gave the Sun a 55-50 lead.
That was news. The Sun, who made 11 straight shots in the first period, lost a 12-point lead thanks mostly to Washington's offensive rebounding. The Mystics (3-13) took a three-point lead in the third period.
Washington trailed by 11 in the fourth before rallying within three. But that's when Lawson made a layup thanks to White's steal with 3:58 left. White's conventional three-point play with 2:01 left all but sealed it.
The Sun beat two last-place teams on their road trip. And they also defeated defending WNBA champion Minnesota, handing the Lynx their first home loss.
Clearly, the road success added to some sunny dispositions in the locker room after the game.
"I was just telling Mistie (Mims) that this feels like a long time coming," Charles said. "I remember my rookie year, we couldn't get a win on road. If we did, we were lucky. It didn't feel like we executed. At least it feels like we're not getting lucky. We're executing and winning games."
Mims added eight points off the bench for the Sun, all in the third period.
Crystal Langhorne had 15 points to lead five players in double figures for the Mystics.
The Sun play their final home game tonight before the Olympic break.