WNBA

Sun 97, Liberty 55

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP)

The New York Liberty caught the Connecticut Sun at the wrong time.

Tina Charles scored 20 points and the Sun had a record-setting first half en route to a 97-55 victory over the Liberty on Friday night, handing New York its worst loss in franchise history.

Mistie Mims and Renee Montgomery scored 13 points each, Asjha Jones had 10 points and eight rebounds and Kara Lawson also scored 10 points for the Sun (7-2).

All 11 players scored for Connecticut, which led 61-27 at halftime to set the league record for the largest lead at the break - besting Seattle's 33-point margin (60-27) at the half against Tulsa on Aug. 7, 2010.

It was also the Sun's biggest margin of victory, topping their 81-47 win over Washington on Aug. 26, 2005.

Connecticut was coming off an 87-81 loss to Los Angeles on Wednesday night in a game the Sun led with a little over a minute left.

''If you look at our record and see our two losses, we think we could've been undefeated,'' Connecticut's Kalana Greene said. ''It kind of ticks us off. ... The beauty of this part of the season is you play games almost every day. . You have a short-term memory and you get to kind of let off your energy and frustration on the next team.''

With team owner James Dolan sitting courtside, New York (3-7) eclipsed its 37-point defeat to Seattle on July 22, 2006.

''I don't want to take anything away from the Sun,'' Liberty coach John Whisenant said. ''They played well, but to lose like this, we had to play pretty bad. It was just a combination (of things). I've never lost a game like that in my coaching life.''

Essence Carson scored 10 of her 14 points in the first half for New York and was the team's only scorer in double figures. Liberty leading scorer Cappie Pondexter finished with seven points, all in the second half.

''It was embarrassing, frustrating,'' Pondexter said. ''We just got a lot of work to do, a lot of soul-searching, trying to figure this thing out before it sinks. ... I know when I'm not aggressive, this team is not good, and it's my fault. I wasn't being as aggressive as I needed to be.''

The Sun's first-half total set a franchise record, topping the previous mark of 59 against Minnesota on Aug. 3, 2010. Phoenix scored a league-record 69 points in the first half against the Lynx on July 29, 2010.

Connecticut also made a franchise-record 24 field goals in the first half, eclipsing the 23 the Sun made against Indiana on Aug. 28, 2008.

''I think on night's like this, it goes both ways,'' Lawson said. ''I'd like to think we were so awesome offensively, but clearly we expected it would be a little harder to crack their defense than it was tonight.''

Connecticut took control with a 19-0 run bridging the first two quarters to take a 37-14 lead with about 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the first half.

Hightower made two free throws with 4:04 to go before the break to increase the lead to 30.

Montgomery had a three-point play with 4 seconds to go in the period and Greene had a steal and buzzer-beating layup to give the Sun their 34-point lead at the half.

Mims' free throws with 3:40 remaining in the third quarter gave Connecticut a 76-35 lead, and Charles' layup in the final minute of the period extended the lead to 43 points.

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