UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut Sun are off to one of their best starts in franchise history with Tina Charles playing at a record-setting pace.
The third-year center Charles had 18 points and eight rebounds to become the fastest player in WNBA history to reach 800 career rebounds, helping the Sun beat the San Antonio Silver Stars 83-79 Friday night.
Charles began the day four rebounds short of the milestone and got it with 2:02 remaining in the third quarter. She reached the mark in her 71st career game, besting the previous mark set by Yolanda Griffith, who did it in her 72nd game.
``It's great, but I'm just doing my job, going out there and playing hard and getting boards,' Charles said. ``I'm a center. That's what we're suppose to do - clean the glass.'
Renee Montgomery scored 23 points and Charles also had three blocks to help the Sun open the season with three wins for the second time in franchise history.
``I love how we've started out the season,' Montgomery said. ``It's going to be tight at the end (of the regular season), so the more (wins) you get in the beginning, it's great.'
Montgomery had the highest total for a Sun reserve since she scored 33 against Minnesota on Aug. 3, 2010.
``I just try to attack,' Montgomery said of her approach.
Asjha Jones had 16 points, six rebounds and five assists for Connecticut. Kara Lawson added 13 points and four rebounds.
Danielle Adams scored 21 for the Silver Stars (1-1). Shameka Christon had 14 points and Becky Hammon added 11 points and eight assists.
``(The Sun) just shot it better than we did,' Hammon said. ``I thought they had nice looks. Our defense wasn't what we wanted it to be, so we've got some work to do. It's early in the season.'
The Sun's Allison Hightower dogged Hammon, a perennial All-Star, for most of the night. Hammon was limited to 3-of-8 shooting for 11 points with eight assists and three steals.
``We just didn't shoot it (well),' Hammon said of her team. ``You can't shoot 38-percent on the road and expect to beat people on their home court.'
The Sun led 62-60 with 7:41 to go before pulling away with a 12-0 run. Charles began the spurt with a three-point play and followed it by making the second of two free throws after getting Adams to commit her fourth foul.
Montgomery had a steal and a layup and Asjha Jones made a long jumper. Montgomery added another drive, and Hightower went coast-to-coast to stretch the Sun's lead to 74-60 with 4:57 remaining.
Jones made two free throws to give Connecticut its biggest lead at 76-61 with 4:11 to go.
``It's a really good win,' Sun coach Mike Thibault said. ``That's a good team that we've struggled with. I think we've lost three of the last four times we played them. I thought, for the most part, we did a pretty good defensive job.'
Christon scored six consecutive points - on three free throws and a 3-pointer - to pull the Silver Stars to 82-77 with 18.3 seconds left.
Montgomery made a free throw 2 seconds later and Christon missed two 3s in the final 11 seconds before Danielle Robinson made a layup with 2.4 seconds remaining to close the scoring.
Before the game, Hammon confirmed she will once again play for the Russian women's basketball team at this summer's London Olympics. She created a stir in 2008 when she first played for Russia at the Beijing Games, helping guide that team to a bronze medal.
``It's old news,' Hammon said. ``I played with them in the world championship, European championship, hopefully I'll enjoy it a lot more. By far it was one of the best decisions I ever made and I stand by that, and really look forward to doing it again.'
Hammon was held to six points on 2-for-4 shooting in the first half. Her 3 with 3:50 to go in the third gave the Silver Stars a 53-52 lead. However, the Sun scored the next six points to take the lead for good.
Lawson made two free throws, Charles hit a hook shot and Montgomery made a driving layup to put the Sun up 58-53 with 2:22 to go in the period.
The Associated Press News Service
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