Sun 78, Liberty 73

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Asjha Jones' jumper with 31.4 seconds left Saturday snapped a tie as Connecticut won its WNBA season opener, edging New York 78-73 in front of 8,112 fans at Madison Square Garden.
Jones, one of four former University of Connecticut standouts on the Sun, hit just 6-of-18 shots but still finished with 12 points. After Cappie Pondexter scored with 2:16 remaining on a fadeaway which gave the Liberty their last lead at 71-69, Jones responded with a bucket 19 seconds later.
New York failed to score on five consecutive possessions in the final two minutes, including Pondexter missing a layup in the final 20 seconds which would have tied the game. Danielle McCray made a free throw for Connecticut with 15.1 seconds remaining to make it a three-point cushion and Renee Montgomery iced it with two foul shots with 6.6 seconds left.
Five players finished in double figures for the Sun. Tina Charles collected a 19-point, 13-rebound double-double to lead the way, while Allison Hightower came off the bench to hit for 13 points. Montgomery scored 11 and McCray added 10.
Pondexter paced the Liberty with 19 points, while Plenette Pierson tallied 15 and hauled in 10 rebounds. Kara Braxton scored 13 points.
Neither team shot well, Connecticut hitting just 31-of-78 from the floor and New York converting only 28-of-72. The Sun did connect on 5-of-12 from 3-point land, while the Liberty were a miserable 2-of-15.
New York led 41-33 at halftime after outscoring Connecticut 21-14 in the second quarter, but the Sun shone when it most mattered, owning a 27-15 advantage in the final 10 minutes.
The teams play again Sunday at 5 p.m. in a rematch at Mohegan Sun Arena. It's the start of a four-game homestand for Connecticut.