Kraayeveld's free throws lift Liberty past DreamJul 12, 2009 - 3:16 AM By VIN A. CHERWOO AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK(AP) -- The New York Liberty rallied for a win, and they did it with defense.
Cathrine Kraayeveld made two free throws with 11.5 seconds left to lift the Liberty to a 71-69 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Saturday night. Shameka Christon scored 18 points, Essence Carson had 17 and New York (4-7) outscored Atlanta 10-4 in the final 2:12 to get its second win in three games.
"We knew we had to buckle down and the time was now," Christon said. "We knew we couldn't waste any more time and had to get this win. ... It's all about defense. We have to have that toward the end of the game to get the victory."
After New York trailed by six points earlier in the fourth quarter, Christon's 3-pointer pulled the Liberty to 67-66 with 1:11 to go. Chamique Holdsclaw had a layup 16 seconds later for Atlanta, and Janel McCarville tied it at 69 on three-point play with 44 seconds left.
The Dream had a chance to go ahead, but Sancho Lyttle missed a 15-foot jumper and Holdsclaw got the rebound and had her layup attempt blocked by McCarville. Kraayeveld was then fouled on the other end and converted the tiebreaking free throws.
"It was huge for our confidence factor," Liberty coach Pat Coyle said. "We had to get two stops, and then we had to go down the other end and score, and we did."
Iziane Castro Marques scored 18 points and Lyttle added 17 for Atlanta (6-8). Erika DeSouza had 10 points. The Dream, playing the opener of a five game road trip that includes a return to Madison Square Garden next Sunday, have lost six of seven away from Philips Arena this season.
"They're at home and they definitely made some big plays down the stretch," said Holdsclaw, a New York native playing at the Garden for the first time since 2005. "They're a veteran team and even though they're struggling this season, they're a group that's used to playing with each other."
The Liberty trailed by 11 in the first half and rallied to take a brief lead in the third quarter. They played close for the rest of the quarter before falling behind by six in the fourth.
"We're fighting the whole night," Coyle said. "Playing catch up, catch up, catch up. We had a couple spurts, which you expect good teams to do."
The Dream, who entered tied for first in field-goal shooting at 45 percent, finished 27 for 68 (40 percent) - including 1 for 8 on 3s.
"We're not really a 3-point shooting team," Holdsclaw said. "We take the ones when they're open, but you have to go out there and put the ball in the basket and tonight we didn't."
Lyttle's jumper with 6:08 to go stretched Atlanta's advantage to 58-52.
However, New York used a 9-2 run to briefly take the lead on Loree Moore's 3-pointer with 3:24 left. Moore and Carson each had a steal in the 40-second stretch before the go-ahead 3.
Lyttle hit a jumper 16 seconds later to push Atlanta back ahead and Castro Marques sank a 3 with 2:26 left to extend the lead to 65-61.
Carson made a layup, and Christon hit a 3-pointer to give New York a 41-39 lead with 7:05 left in the third quarter, the Liberty's first advantage since about 3 1/2 minutes into the game.
Castro Marques' driving layup about 30 seconds later tied it.
Atlanta made 10 of 22 shots in the first quarter, then just 5 of 20 in the second.
Angel McCoughtry, the top overall pick in this year's draft, scored four consecutive points to start Atlanta's 10-3 run bridging the first and second quarters. She capped it with a jumper to stretch the Dream's lead to 30-19 with 6:48 to go in the first half.
New York had a 10-3 run, capped by three consecutive baskets by rookie Kia Vaughn, that pulled the Liberty within four with just under 2 minutes left in the half.
"I tried to go out there and create momentum and help my team out," Vaughn said. "My teammates told me to be aggressive. I just wanted to do everything, run the floor and get offensive rebound.s"
Castro Marques hit 1 of 2 free throws 20 seconds later to give Atlanta a 36-31 lead at the break.
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