Despite getting clobbered on the boards and enduring an eight-point second quarter Tuesday, Connecticut found a way to maintain its 2 1/2-game lead atop the Eastern Conference.
With Kara Lawson scoring 17 points and Tina Charles adding 16, the Sun swept a three-game road trip with a hard-earned 77-70 win over last-place Washington in front of 12,569 matinee viewers at Verizon Center.
Tan White came off the bench for 11 points, including a critical 3-point play with 2:01 remaining that gave Connecticut a 70-64 lead. Lawson sank four straight free throws and Kalana Greene hit a pair in the final two minutes as the Sun improved to 13-4.
At the start, Connecticut appeared as though it wouldn't need clutch free throws. It answered the early wakeup call for the early tipoff, roaring out to a 26-12 lead just over eight minutes into the game as it scored on 12 straight possessions.
But it went 5:50 without scoring and the Mystics (3-13) crawled within 34-30 by halftime, then grabbed a three-point lead early in the third quarter. Connecticut regained the lead for good late in the third quarter on Mistie Mims' layup and then pushed it out to 10 points early in the fourth quarter.
The Sun converted 51.9 percent of their field goal attempts, drawing assists on 20 of their 28 buckets. That was enough to overcome a staggering 49-31 disadvantage on the boards.
Crystal Langhorne's 15 points led five Washington players in double figures. Matee Ajavon scored 13, while Monique Currie added 12 points. Michelle Snow and Noelle Quinn each netted 10.
The teams meet again Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun in the back end of a home-and-home at 7.