Sun blow 21-point lead before beating Liberty 94-89
NEW YORK (AP) Courtney Williams has never been afraid to take the big shot.
Connecticut’s second-year guard came up with a tiebreaking basket, a huge rebound and a key assist in the final minute to help the Sun beat the New York Liberty 94-89 on Friday night after blowing a 21-point lead.
”I got no fear in my heart. My biggest thing was get a bucket, we needed a bucket,” Williams said. ”The clock’s running down and we needed a basket.”
The win was the fifth straight for Connecticut, which has beaten Minnesota and New York on the road the last two games.
”Our kids stuck together,” Connecticut coach Curt Miller said. ”We know we lost some games early in the season in the fourth quarter. We took a couple haymakers in the fourth quarter by them. We found a way to the finish line. Courtney made a couple of big shots.”
Jasmine Thomas scored 23 points, and Jonquel Jones added 21 for the Sun (6-5).
Connecticut was up 70-49 in the third quarter before New York rallied to tie it at 86 with 1:06 left on a layup by Shavonte Zellous. Courtney Williams then hit a jumper to give the Sun the lead and pulled down the rebound on the other end. Jasmine Thomas then hit a 3-pointer from the wing – the team’s 12th of the game – with 24 seconds left to seal the victory.
The Sun were hot from the start from behind the arc, hitting five of their first nine 3-pointers and finished the first half with nine 3s to build a 46-32 advantage.
Tina Charles scored 18 of her 20 points in the second half to lead New York (7-5).
”They are the hottest team in the league right now,” said Zellous, who added 18 points. ”Credit to them. They made the plays and the shots.”
The Sun had been winning without Morgan Tuck (knee) and Lynetta Kizer (back), who are sidelined with injuries. Miller expects Kizer back sooner than Tuck.
The Liberty have only three home games in the next 45 days spending most of the month of July on the road.
Sun: The winning streak is the team’s longest since Connecticut won seven straight from June 7-26, 2015.
Liberty: New York has trailed by 15 points in the first half twice this season, both times were to Connecticut. … New York almost pulled off the biggest comeback in franchise history. The Liberty were down 20 points to Washington on Aug. 21, 2003, before winning that game 65-60.
WELCOME BACK: Both teams were closer to full strength. The Liberty got Epiphanny Prince and Kia Vaughn back from their EuroBasket commitment. Alex Bentley returned to the Connecticut Sun after she played in that tournament.
Sun: Connecticut heads to Dallas for a game Sunday.
Liberty: New York begins a four-game road trip in Washington on Thursday.