Charles leads Sun past MercuryJun 26, 2010 - 3:08 AM UNCASVILLE, Conn.(AP) -- Tina Charles had 19 points and a career-high 23 rebounds to help the Connecticut Sun beat the Phoenix Mercury 82-79 on Friday night.
Charles was a rebound shy of the WNBA record of 24 set by Chamique Holdsclaw in 2003.
"Tina was sensational," Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said.
Sandrine Gruda scored eight of her 17 points in the fourth quarter for the Sun (9-4).
"Tina is a great player. A nice pick," Phoenix coach Corey Gaines said. "Connecticut is a good team. They are probably the best team in the East."
Former UConn star Diana Taurasi led Phoenix with 26 points. Taurasi shot 6 for 19 from the field, but made 12 of 13 free throws.
"We have a lot of things to clean up," Taurasi said. "We are not playing at the level we need to be at, but it's a long summer and a lot of games."
Connecticut led 82-75 with 1:54 remaining, but the Mercury (5-8) scored the next four points. Taurasi missed a potential tying 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds remaining, and also missed a desperation 3-point heave at the final horn.
"You have to kill Phoenix to put them away," Thibault said. "This was a hell of a win for us. To told a team like that to 79 points says a lot about our improvement."
Down 73-70 with 4:10 remaining, the Sun used a 12-2 run - capped by Anete Jekabsone Zogota's 3-pointer with 1:54 left - to take a 82-75 lead.
Jekabsone-Zogota made two 3-pointers in the final 3 minutes.
Kara Lawson had 11 points for the Sun, and Jekabsone-Zogota finished with 10.
DeWanna Bonner had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Mercury, while Candice Dupree had 16 points, and Penny Taylor 13.
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