By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Tina Charles had 23 points and 10 rebounds to help the New York Liberty beat the Connecticut Sun 89-82 on Friday night.
While the Liberty have already clinched the No. 3 seed in the playoffs, Connecticut is on the outside of the postseason looking in. The Sun are sitting in 10th place and will need a lot of help to make the playoffs.
To make matters worse, they traded their first round pick in the 2017 draft to Los Angeles to acquire Jonquel Jones before this season started.
The Sun (11-19) didn’t go down without a fight. Every time that it seemed New York (21-10) was in control, Connecticut would battle back. The Liberty led by six at the half, and opened up a double-digit advantage early in the fourth before the Sun got within 78-76 with 4:39 left.
New York scored the next seven points, capped by a 3-pointer by Epiphanny Prince to finally put the game away.
Courtney Williams scored a career-high 20 points and Chiney Ogwumike added 20 also to lead Connecticut, which is two games behind eighth-place Phoenix.
Charles, who played four years in Connecticut before being traded to New York before the 2014 season, has excelled against her former team. She matched her career-high 32 points earlier this season. She was well on her way to that mark again with 17 in the first half on Friday.
After one basket where she also drew a foul, the Madison Square Garden fans, which included U.S. track star Tori Bowie, started chanting MVP. Charles’ dad led the cheers while holding up a sign with his daughter’s No. 31 on it.
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