INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - With the Connecticut Sun on the verge of taking over sole possession of last place in the Eastern Conference, reigning league MVP Tina Charles came through with a record-tying effort.
Charles had 30 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Sun to a 73-61 victory against the Indiana Fever on Wednesday night, handing the defending champions their fourth straight loss.
The reigning league MVP shot 13 for 17 from the field, tying the franchise mark for made field goals, and finished one point shy of her career high.
``They were trying to get me to force shots,'' Charles said. ``Which I have been doing in all of the games, but I was patient, and I was able to find the open man and it definitely worked for us.''
Kara Lawson scored 12 points and Kalana Greene added 10 points and nine rebounds as the Sun (2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak.
Trailing by eight at the start of the fourth quarter, Indiana scored the first seven points of the final period to pull to 60-59 on Erlana Larkins' layup with 6:53 remaining.
However, Connecticut closed with a 13-2 run as Indiana went 1 for 13 with three turnovers over the final 6:11.
``We battled hard,'' Fever head coach Lin Dunn said. ``We got good minutes out of our subs. We are just missing too many open shots. We are beat up. We're not clicking on all cylinders. We had mental breakdowns by our younger players.''
The Sun shot 51 percent from the floor - the fourth consecutive game Indiana has allowed an opponent to shoot above 40 percent - while the Fever were a season-low 34 percent.
Indiana was again without All-Star Katie Douglas (back) and continues to struggle to find depth on its bench because of injuries. Also, Jessica Davenport (left leg), Erin Phillips (torn right meniscus) and Jeanette Pohlen (left ACL) have not played this year and are not expected back before midseason.
Connecticut was missing guards Renee Montgomery (sprained left ankle) and Tan White (broken right finger.)
``It's not impossible to come back from a rough start but we don't want to dig a hole too big,'' Lawson said. ``Both teams are down players right now, but we knew it would be a hard-fought game. I thought we did a good job of staying patient in the fourth quarter and didn't let them dictate our offense.''
Shavonte Zellous scored 14 points, Tamika Catchings added 11 and Larkins 10 for the Fever (1-4). Rookie Layshia Clarendon had a career-high nine points and four assists.
``It was a tough loss,'' Zellous said. ``We battled, and we fought hard and came up short. Kind of disappointing. Have to get over this and move forward.''
Charles scored 16 points in the first half to help the Sun take a 38-35 lead at the break. Connecticut had used a 14-0 run over a nearly 6-minute span in the first quarter to take a 10-point lead before Indiana closed the deficit.