Ivory Latta carries Mystics past short-handed Sun

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Although Washington coach Mike Thibault insisted his return to Connecticut for the first time since being fired as Sun coach after 10 years last November was all business, his new team still wanted to win for him.

Ivory Latta scored nine of her 17 points in the final seven minutes as the Mystics (2-1) rallied to beat the short-handed Sun 66-62 on Friday night. Monique Currie had 10 points and five rebounds and Latta also had seven rebounds.

"It meant a lot for us," Latta said. "We wanted to come into this hostile environment and get this win for him. For him, it's just a win. He's not worried about this game.

"It felt very good, this win for him. Absolutely."

Thibault was the only coach Connecticut had since the franchise moved from Orlando in 2003. He coached the team to two Eastern Conference championships, but he was fired for his failure to win a WNBA title.

"That's nice that they did," Thibault said when told what Latta said. "I'm not lying when I say it's not any different than another game in the sense that road wins, no matter where you are, are good. Obviously, there's an emotion in coming back here."

Tina Charles had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Connecticut (1-3). Allison Hightower added 13 points, five assists and four rebounds.

The Sun were without starting guard Kara Lawson (sore back), and reserves Renee Montgomery (left ankle sprain) and Tan White (broken right finger).

"I would've preferred to play them with all their players because I think that's where we need to figure out where we measure up with everybody," Thibault said, "but they'll be enough other opportunities for that. We'll take the win."

Washington trailed 60-51 with over six minutes left in the game when Latta began her run of nine points. She made two free throws with 1:39 remaining to give the Mystics a 63-62 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Montgomery, last season's Sixth Woman of the Year winner, suffered a high left ankle sprain last Saturday against Minnesota. White broke a finger during Tuesday's practice.

Lawson is the team's second-leading scorer. An MRI showed no damage to her back.

"We're a no-excuse team," Hightower said. "We didn't get it done. That's the bottom line."

Latta started her team's final run with a 3-pointer. Michelle Snow followed with a jumper, and Latta made another 3 as the Mystics pulled to 60-59 with more than four minutes remaining.

Hightower stopped the run with a long jumper.

Currie answered by making a tightly contested jumper to keep Washington within a point.

Latta continued her spurt with two free throws that gave the Mystics' a 63-62 lead with 2:01 remaining. It was the Mystics' first lead in more than 13 minutes.

"Thank goodness we got the win," Latta said.