Hot Sun bear down for visit to Liberty (Jun 22, 2017)

BY AP • June 22, 2017

Connecticut has had almost a full week to savor a coming-of-age victory after handing the previously undefeated Minnesota Lynx their first loss of the season.

After four straight losing seasons and having started this year with four straight losses, the Sun seemed like the same old team.

But now Connecticut has risen to 5-5 after beating Minnesota 98-93 on June 17. The Sun have won four straight but understand they can't rest on their laurels because if they do that winning streak will come crashing down when they visit the New York Liberty (7-4) on Friday.

"I'm really proud of them," second-year Connecticut coach Curt Miller told reporters after the win against Minnesota. "It's a great team win. We had six players in double figures. I'm really proud of the way the team battled and hung on at the end."

Miller has Connecticut's offense humming. The Sun are third in the league in scoring (85.5 ppg), third in rebounds (36.7), third in 3-point field goals made (6.8) and second in field goals made (32.1).

"We have a lot of people who can put the ball in the basket," Jasmine Thomas said. "We play with energy and believe in ourselves."

Thomas brings high energy and a heavy dose of confidence after compiling 20 points, six assists, six rebounds and three steals in the win over Minnesota.

Confidence is one thing the Liberty don't lack, and it starts at the top with coach Bill Laimbeer.

New York is coming off a 102-93 overtime win over Dallas.

"We didn't really have our best effort," Laimbeer told reporters after the loss. "We have been pushing hard, being short-handed, and tonight we kind of hit a wall a little bit and didn't have the energy necessary.

"They are feeling good about themselves and we knew it would be a hard game if we didn't put forth the effort."

The Liberty head into Friday's game with a 20-point loss to the Sun on June 14 still on their minds.

"We have to be mentally focused, more focused from the start of the game," New York's Shavonte Zellous said after that loss. (We need to) guard the penetration, rebound it. We didn't do a great job of that (Wednesday)."

Friday's game will be a battle of high-powered offenses.

The Liberty, led by Tina Charles' 20.5 points per game, score at an 81.6 per game clip while giving up 81.4 per game.

The Sun are scoring 85.5 points per game, with Jonquel Jones leading the way with 15.1 points per game. Connecticut surrenders 79.8 points per game.



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