Renee Montgomery scored a game-high 22 points and Asjha Jones added 18 to help the Connecticut Sun rout the Tulsa Shock 90-62 before 8,828 fans at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Tuesday night. Tan White and Sandrine Gruda chipped in with 13 points apiece for the Sun, who improved to 16-16 on the season.
Tina Charles added to her single-season record for double-doubles, notching her 21st double-dub of the season with 10 points and 10 boards. It was the sixth straight game that Jones, who spent much of the season recovering from February Achilles surgery, it scored in double-digits.
Scholanda Robinson led the Shock with with 18 points, while Shanna Crossley and former track star Marion Jones added 10 points apiece for Tulsa. The Shock, who moved to Tulsa from Detroit prior to the start of the season, fell to 5-27 in losing for the fifth straight time and for the 10th time in their last 11 games.
The Sun, who were eliminated from playoff contention for the second straight year on Sunday, led from start to finish in their last home game of the season. The final 28-point margin represented the largest margin of victory this season for the Sun. Indeed, the Sun shot an blazing 51.6 percent from the floor (32-for-63), while holding the visitors to a paltry 28.9 percent on 22-for-76 shooting.
“We played with a lot of energy,” said White. “Just because we didn’t make the playoffs doesn’t mean we can’t start to build on something for next year. We wanted to play for our fans, and just want to end the season on a positive note.”
This was the first and only meeting of the year between the two teams, and Tulsa coach Nolan Richardson got his first glimpse of Charles. To say the Hall-of-Fame coach was impressed is a huge understatement.
“She’s what you call a man-child,” said Richardson, who guided Arkansas to the NCAA men’s title in 1994. “She’s got tremendous strength and athletic ability. She’s a gift. You can’t teach what she already knows. You can’t teach instincts, how to catch it as well as she does and have great hands.
“She has all of these things and I see her as one of the players that will be one of the all-time great players in the WNBA.”
The Sun now hit the road for the next two games as they play out the string on the 2010 season. Both games, however, will be available to most fans in Connecticut.
Next up will be a trip to Chicago to take on the Sky on Friday night. Tip-off is 8:30 p.m., ET, and the game will be televised on NBA-TV. The Sun season will end on Sunday when they head to New York to take on the red-hot Liberty at 4 p.m. at Madison Square Garden. The Sun can play the spoiler for the league’s hottest team. The Liberty are currently ½ game behind first-place Indiana, but tied with the Fever in the loss column. New York has won nine straight games. Sunday’s game will be televised on the MSG Network.
- Even though the season has been disappointing by most standards, the Sun currently have a better record than everyone in the Western Division except for league-leading Seattle. That includes second-place Phoenix. Led by Diana Taurasi, the defending WNBA champs currently stand at 15-17, but have already captured a postseason berth.
- Tina Charles also added her single-season WNBA record for rebounds. The former UConn great currently has 348 boards for the year with two games left.
- Kara Lawson had six defensive rebounds, tying her season-high.
- Amber Holt, who made the WNBA All-Rookie team as a member of the Sun in 2008, had nine points, seven rebounds and three assists for the Shock, while Chante Black, Connecticut’s first-round draft choice in 2009 out of Duke, scored two points and hauled down five boards in 15 minutes of play off the Tulsa bench.
- For fans unable to access the next two games on television, both will be available online at WNBA All-Access.
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