UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Tina Charles had 22 points and 12 rebounds as the Connecticut Sun rallied from 16 points down and then held on to beat the Indiana Fever 70-64 on Thursday night.
Allison Hightower had 12 points, four rebounds and four assists for last-place Connecticut (5-12), which pulled to 2½ games behind the Fever for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Mistie Bass also had 12 points and four rebounds, and Tan White scored 10 points.
Trailing 52-36 with 1:35 left in the third quarter, the Sun used an 18-2 run to tie the score.
Bass' hook shot with 50.6 seconds left gave Connecticut, playing for the first time since the All-Star break, a 63-62 lead. The Sun made seven free throws in the final 38.1 seconds, including two each by Hightower and White after Jessica Breland made two to pull the Fever to 66-64 with about 20 seconds to go.
"It's a new season," Bass said. "We came into the second half (of the season) with a new mindset that we have a chance to get in the playoffs and it's got to start today. And all of the sudden, you look up at the scoreboard and it's 50-34 (Indiana).
"All you can do is say, 'not again.' You've got to dig deep somewhere inside yourself and find a way as an individual to do as much as you can, and I thought like everyone did that and we came together."
Shavonte Zellous had 20 points and Breland added 17 points and seven rebounds for Indiana (8-10).
The Fever had only eight players in uniform, with All-Star Tamika Catchings (personal reasons) among those missing.
Still, Indiana led for most of the game. It ended the first half with an 11-0 run to take a 34-25 lead at the break and didn't trail again until the final minute.
"We just didn't execute when the game was on the line," Zellous said. "Crunch time, I think we turned the ball over a couple of times. Then on defense, we didn't pay attention to our defensive assignments and it led to a couple of open shots and offensive rebounds. That's the ball game."
In addition to Catchings, Indiana was without Jessica Davenport (out for the season with a stress fracture in her left leg), Katie Douglas (back), Erin Phillips (right knee) and Jenette Pohlen (torn left ACL).
Two jumpers by Zellous, sandwiched between a layup by Karima Christmas, gave the Fever their 16-point lead late in the third quarter.
Bass's layup and a 3-pointer by White cut the Sun's deficit to 52-41 heading to the fourth.
Connecticut continued its run to start the final period. Charles' layup cut the Sun's deficit to 52-51 with over 7 minutes left.
Breland hit a short jumper on the other end to push Indiana ahead by three points.
White answered with a 3-pointer to tie the score at 54-all with 6:16 left.
"It was a great second half," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "Tan and Mistie did a great job off the bench. Kelly (Faris) too."
"Tan hit huge shots. Alley came alive in the fourth quarter. Kelly was definitely a presence, so I would say it was a collection of people (who sparked the comeback)."
Atlanta Dream continue to rebuild: hire Aces exec Dan Padover as GM, name Darius Taylor assistant GM
The Atlanta Dream have hired two-time WNBA executive of the year Dan Padover as their new GM. Padover leaves the same role with the Las Vegas Aces.
Diana Taurasi says 'magic slipped away' from Phoenix Mercury in WNBA Finals loss
Diana Taurasi said the "magic slipped away" from the Phoenix Mercury in addressing their loss to the Sky in the WNBA Finals.
NBA hires Danielle Scott as the league's sixth female full-time referee
The NBA has promoted Danielle Scott, the daughter of college basketball officials, as its sixth female full-time referee.