Sun-Liberty preview

The first-place New York Liberty are looking to bounce back from Friday's blowout loss and continue their dominance over Connecticut, when the Sun visits Madison Square Garden for a Sunday matinee.

The Liberty have defeated the Sun seven straight times, including an 80-72 road win on June 16. The game was tied with 2:34 to play, before New York closed out Connecticut with a 10-2 run. Liberty star forward Tin Charles scored 32 points in the win, and the free-throw line played a key role. The Liberty attempted 15 more free throws than the Sun, outscoring Connecticut by 19-11 from the foul line.

New York (16-7) could not keep up with the defending-champion Minnesota Lynx in an 88-70 road loss Friday. Charles posted her 12th double-double of the season, scoring 15 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. But the Liberty faded in the second half and dropped a game to the team directly above them in the league standings.

New York is third in the league standings, three games back of the Lynx. The top eight teams in the league standings, regardless of conference, qualify for the postseason.

Charles is having a monster season. She leads the league in scoring, averaging 21.9 points, and is among the league leaders in rebounding, averaging 9.5 boards per game.

Connecticut (6-15) has just one win against an Eastern Conference foe this season. But the Sun did play well against the Los Angeles Sparks, owners of the best record in the WNBA, in their last game.

Connecticut led by 16 early in the third quarter, but could not hold off the powerhouse Sparks and succumbed in overtime, 98-92. Alyssa Thomas scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the loss.

“Well, that's gut-wrenching,” Sun coach Curt Miller told the Hartford Courant after the game. “We continue to play really well in a lot of areas … but the margin for error is small in this league. And playing against that team, the margin of error is even smaller.”

Alex Bentley leads the Sun in scoring, averaging 14.2 points per game. Thomas and forward Chiney Ogwumike have combined to averaging 21.1 points and 11.4 rebounds for Connecticut's frontcourt.