Uncasville, CT -- With about two-thirds of the season in the books, the Connecticut Sun know they still have much work to do if they want to make the playoffs. Tonight, the Sun had a great opportunity against the Eastern Conference-leading New York Liberty, and could not capitalize.
The Liberty led the Sun for most of the game, only trailing for a stretch in the second quarter. New York never trailed in the second half, and won their fourth straight game against Connecticut Friday night, 90-78.
Tina Charles had a season-high 31 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Charles has now scored 53 points in the two meetings against her former team this season.
"I just wanted to get the win," Charles said. "My motivation was building on the team we are becoming and how great we are playing right now. I just did not want to lose, and I was out there doing whatever I could to get the win."
Every time the Liberty tried to pull away, the Sun found an answer to keep the game close. Alex Bentley and Kelsey Bone combined to score 18 of the team's first 20 points to keep Connecticut in the game early.
The Liberty led by seven at the half, and would improve their lead thanks to the combination of Epiphanny Prince and Tina Charles. Prince poured in 23 points, and was there to constantly halt any momentum the Sun might have gained.
"I was just trying to be aggressive and read what the defense was giving me," Prince said. "I feel more comfortable with the offense and with my teammates. My teammates are setting good screens and they are getting me the ball when I am comfortable."
The Sun trailed by ten entering the final quarter, where the defense by both teams really picked up. Connecticut cut the Liberty lead to five with just over three minutes remaining, but would never get any closer.
Bentley played well throughout, leading the Sun with 19 points. Bone finished with 17 points and six rebounds, her eighth straight game scoring in double figured.
"It's tough, losing games you shouldn't be losing and games that you can control the outcome of," Bone said. " We shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers. You can't turn the ball over like we did. You have to control the things you are able to control."
Connecticut had 18 turnovers, and allowed New York to score 26 points off of those miscues. The Liberty committed only eight turnovers, a season-low for a Sun opponent.
The game was closer than the final score showed, and Connecticut proved they could hang with the playoff-bound Liberty. Now, they just have to continue playing this well in their last 11 games to catch one of the four teams currently ahead of them in the standings.