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Tina Charles Leads Sun Over Liberty 92-77

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Tina Charles scored 18 of her 25 points in the second half and the Connecticut Sun overcame an early double-digit deficit to beat New York 92-77 on Sunday, opening the season with back-to-back wins against the Liberty.

Charles, who shot 11 for 15 from the floor, also had 11 rebounds.

Asjha Jones added 20 points and eight boards for Connecticut, which beat the Liberty in New York on Saturday to open the season. Renee Montgomery had 15 points and six assists.

Cappie Pondexter scored 18 points for New York and Plenette Pierson added 16.

Connecticut, 15-2 at home last season, hasn’t lost to New York at Mohegan Sun Arena since the 2008 playoffs.

Charles has now scored in double figures in 14 consecutive games.

New York scored the game’s first eight points and opened with a 13-3 run. The Sun hit just one of their first nine shots and made three of 18 in the first quarter. They trailed by 11 early and 24-15 after a quarter.

Connecticut used a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to three points, before New York stretched the lead again. Charles, who faced double teams every time she touched the ball, didn’t score her first points until midway through the second period.

Connecticut used free throws to steadily climb back into the game, and closed the quarter on a 14-3 run that turned a 37-30 deficit into a 44-40 halftime lead.

The Sun hit just 10 of 23 shots from the field in the half, but made 23 of 26 free-throw attempts. New York had just eight shots from the line, hitting five of them.

Liberty coach John Whisenant responded to that disparity by picking up a technical foul, the only one on Sunday after the teams combined for four on Saturday in New York.

After scoring just seven points in the first half, Charles had eight in the third quarter as the Sun extended their lead to 67-59.

She started the fourth quarter on the bench and New York cut pulled to 69-67 on a three-point play by Essence Carson. But once Charles returned, the Sun pulled away, outscoring the Liberty 23-10 the rest of the way.

Charles, who is in her third year, needs four rebounds in her next game to reach 800 faster than any player in WNBA history. Yolanda Griffith currently holds that distinction, reaching the mark in her first 72 games. Charles has played 70.

The game marked the start of the Sun’s 10th season in Connecticut since moving from Orlando.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)