Indianapolis, Ind. — The Connecticut Sun returned to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the first time since Game 2 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night.
And while the stakes were not nearly as high as last Oct. 8 — when a buzzer-beating shot lifted the eventual WNBA champion Fever to a 78-76 win that turned the series around — Connecticut was happy to snap a two-game losing streak with a 73-61 win.
The Sun improved to 2-3 on the year while the Fever dropped to 1-4.
Reigning MVP Tina Charles had a season-high 30 points and 10 rebounds — her fifth straight double-double to start the season.
"She has five games and five double-doubles, and none better than tonight," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "She put the team on her back for long stretches and carried us."
Kara Lawson chipped in with 12 points and five rebounds while Kalana Greene had 10 points and nine rebounds and Kelsey Griffin added a season-high seven rebounds.
The Sun shot a season-best 50.8 percent (32 of 63) from the field and also had a 40-30 edge on the boards.
"They're very physical and make you work for everything on offense," Lawson said. "I think we stayed aggressive. When we had to execute, we got the shots we wanted."
Trailing 60-52 after three quarters, Indiana scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to get within 60-59. But a Charles put-back with just under six minutes left halted the momentum. The Fever missed their next seven shots over a four-minute period and Connecticut built the lead back to 66-59 with 2:49 left.
The Sun outscored Indiana 13-2 down the stretch.
Both teams were shorthanded. The Sun were without Tan White (broken finger) and Renee Montgomery (high ankle sprain), who did not make the trip. Indiana was without Katie Douglas (back), Erin Phillips (knee), Jeanette Pohlen (knee) and Jessica Davenport (tibia stress fracture).
Connecticut took early control of the game with a 14-0 first-quarter run that started with a Lawson 3-pointer.
Over the next 4:35 six different Sun players contributed to the run as the lead grew to 22-12 lead with 1:39 left.
Charles scored 12 straight over a six-minute span bridging the end of the first half and the start of the second half.
She made 10 of her first 12 shots from the field, and had a season-high 24 points with seven minutes still left in the third quarter as the Sun built a 49-41 lead.
"This place is always tough to play," Charles said. "Their defense is unreal. Tonight, I was able to find the open man and get everyone involved."