Uncasville, CT -- The Connecticut Sun came into Friday night's game against the Eastern Conference-leading New York Liberty winners of three of their last four, yet are still on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
The second meeting of the season between these two teams had the feeling of a must-win for both. The Sun were constantly playing from behind, and could never come all the way back, falling to the Liberty at home, 90-78.
The former Connecticut Sun and Husky Tina Charles had a season-high 31 points for the Liberty. Her teammate, Epiphanny Prince, stuffed the stat sheet with 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists and six steals.
"We are beginning to understand who we are and that we are a decent basketball team," New York Head Coach Bill Laimbeer said. "We talked about there being a lot of room for improvement both from an individual perspective, from our players, and a team perspective. We know what our weaknesses are, and we know how to improve them, now we just need to work on them."
Turnovers were not a weakness for the Liberty against the Sun in this game. Connecticut committed ten more turnovers than their opponent, and were outscored 26-10 off of those turnovers. That is something that cannot continue to happen if the Sun are going to make a push for the playoffs.
After being in first place in the conference about a month ago, Connecticut (12-11) now finds themselves 1 1/2 games out of fourth place. Their next four games are against teams with sub-.500 records, and they know they have to take advantage of the opportunity they failed to grasp tonight.
"We have to win, win and then win some more," Bone said. "We play Atlanta on Sunday; that's a must win. We have got to start winning games. We have a great opportunity ahead of us. All hope is not lost yet, but we have got to be able to pull together."
Connecticut plays eight of their final 11 games against teams in the Eastern Conference. Despite their 4-10 record against opponents from their own conference so far this season, the Sun know they still have a chance to turn things around.
New York improved to 16-6 and now lead the conference by three games. Charles says she definitely wants to build on that cushion her team currently has in the standings, and knows how they can do just that.
"We need to stay disciplined in our game, continue to have the respect we have for each other and have to keep communicating as a team," Charles said. "The camaraderie we have is like no other, and this is what is really carrying us this season."