Tina Charles had 20 points and 10 rebounds to help the Connecticut Sun hold off the Seattle Storm 75-70 on Friday night at Uncasville, Conn.
Kara Lawson added 16 points, including three key free throws in the fourth quarter for the Sun (6-3), which squandered an 18-point lead in the second half.
Seattle (4-3) held Connecticut scoreless for 5:14 in the fourth, trimming a 68-57 deficit to 68-66 with 2:35 left.
Lawson and Renee Montgomery, who scored 11 points, combined to make five of six free throws in the final 1:22 to help Connecticut hold on.
“We won high intensity games and they’re learning how to win,” said Sun coach Mike Thibault. “We made enough mistakes so I can show them the parts we need to improve on.”
The Sun had a 73-70 lead when Sue Bird missed an off-balance 3-point attempt with 5.2 seconds left. Kalana Greene sealed it for the Sun with two free throws.
Swin Cash led Seattle with 25 points and nine rebounds, and Le’Coe Willingham and Camille Little had 10 points apiece.
“They did a good job defensively in the first half against us and we got stagnant,” Seattle coach Brian Agler said. “We didn’t play the game as well as we could have. They were scoring off of their defense a few times. They played in the first half like we played in the second half.”
It was the second straight game Seattle played without three-time MVP Lauren Jackson, who will miss 8-12 weeks with a torn labrum in her hip. Jackson had been Seattle’s leading scorer and rebounder.
“We have a good group of people in that locker room who are great competitors,” said Agler. “But in this league, it doesn’t matter if you have all your people or you’re missing people. If you don’t come out ready to play from the beginning, you’re going to find yourself playing from behind.”
Connecticut went 5 of 7 from 3-point range in the first half and led 45-33 at halftime.