UNCASVILLE, Conn. – After going up against big centers like Chicago's Sylvia Fowles and Tulsa rookie Liz Cambage the last two games, Kara Lawson is glad the Connecticut Sun have Tina Charles.
Charles had 19 points and eight rebounds and Lawson added 17 points — including six free throws in the final 73 seconds — Sunday as the Sun beat the Tulsa Shock 90-79.
"The last three years, the center position has really becomes a potent weapon," Lawson said. "Now, you have to have a center that can play, and we have one. We feel good on any given night, whoever we are playing. ... That makes us lucky to have someone like Tina.
"If you didn't have a good center," Lawson said, "and Fowles and Cambage are coming to town, you're thinking, 'What do we do now?'"
Charles and Lawson helped the Sun (2-1) bounce back from a 78-75 loss to the Sky on Friday night.
Charles, last year's Rookie of the Year after being selected No. 1 overall by Connecticut in the WNBA draft, completed a weekend when she competed against the 6-foot-6 Fowles and the 6-8 Cambage, the 19-year-old Australian picked second overall in this year's draft.
"Cambage really knows her post moves," Charles said. "There are no nights off in this league."
Ivory Latta had 26 points on 11-for-14 shooting from the field for Tulsa (0-4), which has lost all four games this season by double digits.
"You can play the hardest defense and when they are hitting and we can't get nothing to fall it makes a great difference in the ballgame," Tulsa coach Nolan Richardson said. "You can't get too far down and that's what we did."
Cambage scored 16 points before missing the last 6:51 of the game after getting hit in the nose accidentally by teammate Tiffany Jackson. After the game, Cambage said she might have suffered a concussion and was going to a hospital to get a CT scan.
"I feel fine," she said. "I wanted to go back on so bad,. but they didn't want to risk anything."
Latta made her second straight 3-pointer of the fourth quarter to pull the Shock to 79-73. However, the Sun scored the next four points on baskets by Asjha Jones and Kalana Greene and didn't let Tulsa get closer than eight the rest of the way.
"Tulsa played well for long stretches today," Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "They're going to be a good team if they just kind of hang in there. They've got talent and they've got people just trying to get used to each other."
Jones finished with 16 points for the Sun and Kayla Pedersen had 15 for the Shock.
Charles scored 15 of her points in the first half, helping Connecticut lead by as many as 12. But the Shock, who made 11 of their first 19 shots and shot 48 percent in the half, gradually cut into the lead. They got as close as 44-42 on two free throws from Cambage with 1:05 left in the half.
The Sun scored the last five points of the half to take a 49-42 lead at the break.