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Christon scores 18 points as Liberty top Sky 77-63

Aug 31, 2009 - 4:04 AM NEW YORK(AP) -- The Liberty didn't look like a team mired in last place in the Eastern Conference in their 77-63 victory over the Chicago Sky on Sunday.

Shameka Christon scored 18 points and Janel McCarville added 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists in her return from a sprained ankle to help the Liberty beat a Sky team that defeated them by 19 points Friday night.

"It's frustrating knowing that you have a team that's as talented as we are and then come out pretty much flat, consistently flat, throughout the season," Christon said. "It's pretty frustrating, but we put ourselves in that predicament. We've got a few games left. We've just got to fight."

The Liberty, who were one game shy of making the finals last year, are 12-17 and have five games left. They are 1 1/2 games from the fourth and final playoff berth in the conference.

Washington is third at 14-15. Chicago and Connecticut are 14-16 and Detroit is 13-15.

"We've still got a little sliver of a chance to get in, but a lot of it is on us," McCarville said. "We know we need help from other people. But we've got to take care of us first."

The Sky feel the same way. And they have extra motivation to claim a spot because the 4-year-old franchise has never made the playoffs.

"It's a four-game season," coach and general manager Steven Key said. "We're still in control of what happens to us. If we win four games, it doesn't matter what anybody else does, we still make the playoffs. That's our goal."

McCarville gave the Liberty a boost toward their goal. The 6-foot-2 center tested her sprained ankle in warmups. It wasn't 100 percent, but she decided to try to play after missing Friday's 96-77 loss in Chicago.

"Her presence is the biggest thing," coach Anne Donovan said. "I communicated to her after our shootaround with Chicago and told her how much she was missed, just her energy alone."

The Liberty came out with energy and burst to a 23-13 lead after one quarter, holding the Sky to 5-of-16 shooting.

Christon nailed 3-pointers to begin and end a 9-0 run to close the first half, and the Liberty had their largest lead at 48-29. They outscored the Sky 22-14 in the paint in the first half, but Chicago was missing its 6-6 All-Star center Sylvia Fowles, sitting out her fifth straight game because of a sprained ankle. Key is hopeful she will be back for the next game Friday at home vs. Washington.

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