Connecticut 73, New York 70
UNCASVILLE, Conn., Sept. 20, 2008 (AP) -- The Connecticut Sun changed things up and made the game more complicated, yet managed to stay alive in the WNBA playoffs.
Asjha Jones scored 16 points and the Sun forced a decisive Game 3 against the New York Liberty with a 73-70 victory Saturday night.
Tamika Whitmore made two free throws in the final 30 seconds to help the Sun withstand a New York rally in the fourth period. The first-round Eastern Conference series will be settled Monday night in Connecticut.
"It was a heck of a win, but it was a lot tougher than it had to be,'' said Connecticut coach Mike Thibault, names the league's coach of the year earlier Saturday. "For whatever reason, we thought that we'd start doing things a different way. If I had the answer to why we did that, I'd sell it -- give up coaching and make a lot of money.''
The Sun led 64-51 with 8:08 left before New York rallied to make it 71-70 with 1:16 remaining. The Liberty made six 3-pointers in the fourth period and 13 overall.
Whitmore sank a free throw with 30 seconds left to give Connecticut a 72-70 lead and made another with 10 seconds remaining to push the Sun's lead to three points.
McCarville missed a 3-pointer as the final horn sounded.
"I give Connecticut a lot of credit. They did a terrific job with their backs against the wall,'' New York coach Pat Coyle said. "They did what they needed to do to win.''
New York lost McCarville for the last half of the first period after she bumped knees with Abrosimova. McCarville, who lay motionless for a few minutes, left the court without assistance. She returned to begin the second quarter.
Connecticut made its first six shots and took an 18-7 lead. The Sun led 25-15 after the first quarter and 40-32 at halftime.
"We made a valiant comeback and had a chance to win it. That's all you can ask for,'' Coyle said. "But we'll come out a different team Monday night.''