UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Tina Charles used to keep a photo of Sylvia Fowles in her college locker to remind her of being dominated by the former LSU center in the 2007 NCAA tournament.
The two met for the first time as professionals on Saturday, and this time it was Charles who took charge, scoring 17 points and pulling down 10 rebounds in her WNBA debut to lead the Connecticut Sun to a 74-61 victory over Fowles and the Chicago Sky.
Anete Jekabsone-Zogota led the Sun with 18 points, hitting four of her six 3-point shots.
Fowles led Chicago with 16 points and nine rebounds, and Shameka Christon and Jia Perkins each added 11 points.
Connecticut led by as many as 19 in the fist half, before Fowles led Chicago on an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to 38-30. Connecticut went on a 16-2 third-quarter run and a 12-0 run to open the fourth and put the game away. A 3-pointer by Tan White made the lead 58-39 late in the third quarter, and it was 72-43 before the Sun eased up.
Charles scored her first WNBA basket on a hook shot over Fowles with 6:18 left in the first quarter. She had eight first-quarter points and six boards, while Fowles scored six of the Sky's first eight points.
Kara Lawson's half-court shot at the first-quarter buzzer gave the Sun a 22-14 lead.
The Sun finished last season at 16-18, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2002. In response, the team revamped the lineup in the offseason. They secured the pick for Charles and Montgomery in a January deal that sent All-Star Lindsay Whalen to the Minnesota Lynx.
Another trade on draft day allowed to Sun to pick up Nebraska's Kelsey Griffin, who had eight points and 10 rebounds.
Former Tennessee star Lawson came over as a free agent and the Sun picked up her former teammate DeMya Walker in the dispersal draft when the Sacramento Monarchs folded.
Walker was not a factor in the opener, getting three early fouls and finishing with just four points.
Two of the Sun's top players from last year will miss the first few games this season. Asjha Jones, who averaged almost 17 points a game last year, is sidelined after undergoing surgery in February on her left Achilles' tendon. Post player Sandrine Gruda is in Europe with the French national team until June.
The Sky seemed to have trouble finding a scorer to replace Candice Dupree, who was sent to Phoenix in the offseason in a three-team deal that gave them Christon and Cathrine Kraayeveld from New York.