Newark, N.J. - Among the most underrated ways to make money: Find your favorite oddsmaker and lay a few dollars on the more desperate WNBA team, a surer sports bet than Secretariat most nights.
It certainly stood to reason Thursday night at the Prudential Center that the New York Liberty had a greater sense of purpose than the first-place Sun. New York entered 2.5 games out of the last playoff spot and with an unseemly 6-12 record.
Turned out you'd have made a bundle, too.
The Liberty played with the requisite desperation they needed and pounded the Sun 79-66, enabling victorious Indiana to creep within three games of Connecticut for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Sun played without Olympic gold medalist Asjha Jones, who strained her left Achilles' tendon in the Sun's win over Washington on July 11. Jones said before the game she'd likely miss two weeks, but that the rest was mostly precautionary.
Add to that Tina Charles' forgettable, four-point evening - it took her nearly 28 minutes to score - and the Sun are left to contemplate revenge on New York on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
"We can turn around and make up for this by how we play Saturday at home," Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "It just felt like we never had a rhythm. Part of that was incorporating Tina back into the lineup, part of it was carelessness. All fixable. Very fixable."
The Sun committed 17 turnovers to New York's six.
Renee Montgomery led Connecticut (15-5) with 16 points. Mistie Mims, who started for Jones, had 12 points, as did Allison Hightower.
It was the Sun's second road loss of the season. They're 8-2.
"Like coach said, if someone had said we'd be 8-2 on the road right now, we'd take it," Charles said. "We don't like how we played overall, but we're going to be fine."
Charles, who was 1-for-7 from the field, admitted the whole London-back-to-the-WNBA voyage isn't easy.
"Mentally, it wears on you," she said, "but that's when the whole maturity thing has to kick in for me."
Cappie Pondexter led New York with 24 points, including a long 3-pointer at the first-half horn to give the Liberty a 39-35 lead. New York scored the last basket of each quarter of the first half in the closing seconds.
"I don't know if there was a carry over into the second half," Thibault said, "but it carried over into me being (ticked)."
In the middle of the second half, Thibault turned to press row and cracked, "we've thrown more good passes to them than us."
Kelsey Griffin had her best game of the season with nine points and three rebounds in 18 minutes.
"Kelsey was good and so was Renee's offense in the second half," Thibault said. "There weren't many bright spots, but it wasn't all doom and gloom."