Atlanta 72 at Connecticut 92

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Lawson sets 3-point mark, lifts Sun over Dream
Sunday, Sep 23, 2012

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP)—Kara Lawson had 21 points, eight rebounds, and set a franchise record for 3-pointers in a season as the Connecticut Sun finished the regular season with a 92-72 win over the Atlanta Dream on Sunday.

Lawson has made 74 3-pointers this season, topping Katie Douglas’ mark of 73 set in 2006.

Tina Charles had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Sun (25-9). She also finished with a WNBA-best 345 rebounds and a 10.5 average. Charles also broke her franchise scoring record with 18 points per game. She set the mark last season (17.6).

“It’s cool,” Charles said, unaware she had set both marks.

Lawson pledged to donate $50 per 3-pointer this season to the Pat Summitt Foundation, named in honor of her former Tennessee coach. The organization was founded shortly after Summitt was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Connecticut has pledged $50 for every 3-pointer, too.

“I didn’t know that I was in the game (to get the record),” Lawson said with a laugh. “I was kind of looking over like, `All right. Sub. At some point.’ I didn’t realize that was the reason I was in there. I would’ve probably shot one sooner.

“The 3-pointers since from the beginning of the year have taken on an extra meaning.”

Mistie Mims had nine points and five steals, and Kalana Greene scored 12 for Connecticut, which had already clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Sun also finished with the league’s second-best record.

Lindsay Harding scored 16 points, and Erika de Souza had 13 points and eight rebounds for Atlanta (19-15). Angel McCoughtry added 12 points and secured the league’s scoring title with an average of 21.4.

Connecticut will open its best-of-three, first-round playoff series against the New York Liberty on Thursday. Atlanta will take on the Indiana Fever in Game 1 on Friday.

The Sun, who never trailed, grabbed their biggest lead on Renee Montgomery’s layup with 44.6 seconds remaining.

“I thought we ran the ball down the court well, which is how we want to play in the playoffs,” Lawson said. “Particularly when you’re talking about a defensive team like New York. They like to settle into their halfcourt defense, which makes it difficult for me to run my stuff.

“The pace was good and we got contributions from a lot of people. It all starts this Thursday, whether you’re ready or not, it doesn’t matter.”

The Dream started poorly, missing 16 of 19 shots in the first quarter and falling into an 18-8 hole.

“I wanted to give everybody some minutes,” Dream coach Fred Williams said. “The first quarter, we came out a little flat with some shots that didn’t go down for us. It kind of set the tone, but we hung in there all the way into the middle of the fourth quarter.”

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