Uncasville, CT -- The Connecticut Sun made it interesting in the second half, but could not snap their losing streak against the conference's top team. The New York Liberty held off the Sun with a strong fourth quarter, pulling away and earning their 20th win of the season, 80-66.
Kelsey Bone led all scorers with 22 points and seven rebounds. Epiphanny Prince and Tina Charles were pivotal for the Liberty, scoring 18 and 15 respectively.
The Sun found themselves down ten at the break, but would turn things around in a hurry. Connecticut started the third quarter on a 13-1 run, and would take the lead for the first time since the early stages of the first quarter.
"We just wanted to make it a game," Bone said. "We tried to do some things differently. We focused a little more on defense. We gave up 43 points in the first half, so we wanted to buckle down on defense."
"We had the game under control turnover-wise, and then we started throwing the ball away," Liberty Head Coach Bill Laimbeer said. "It wasn't anything they did, we just started kicking it around that leads to teams making a run on you, but I'm proud of the way we weathered the storm and showed great mental toughness."
The Liberty would answer, going on a 7-0 run of their own. The Sun continued to battle, heading into the fourth with the game tied at 57.
Not only did the third quarter get the Sun back in the game, but it also got their home crowd back into it. That intensity would carry over into the beginning of the fourth quarter as the game would remain close.
The game would slow down in the fourth, and New York picked up their execution. The Liberty went on a 13-6 run in the first five minutes of the final quarter, and led Connecticut 70-63.
"We have pride in having poise," Charles said. "We always take pride in our defense. Bone did a really good job, but the better thing is that we didn't let anyone else go off along with her. We held our own and executed plays down the stretch."
That execution showed itself in Charles' ability to pass out of Sun double teams for easy baskets. History seems to keep repeating itself: Connecticut gets close, but is unable to finish against the Liberty down the stretch. New York outscored the Sun by 14 in the fourth quarter.
"(The fourth quarter) was big for us," Prince said. "We just wanted to refocus. We got it done with stops first, and were able to get some (baskets) in transition. We wanted to get the ball into Tina (Charles) and get good shots."
The Liberty have now won five straight meetings against Connecticut, including all three so far this season. New York has also already clinched a playoff spot, while the Sun find themselves in a very different position. Connecticut will look to get their first win since August 14 when they travel to Chicago on Sunday.