Liberty beat Sparks 80-68 for 3rd straight winJun 30, 2010 - 5:21 AM By BETH HARRIS AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES(AP) -- The Los Angeles Sparks found out there's just no stopping Cappie Pondexter.
She scored 19 points and the New York Liberty pulled away in the third quarter to win 80-68 Tuesday night for their third consecutive victory.
"We're finally jelling, we're sticking to what the (coach) Anne Donovan game plan is," Pondexter said. "Our defensive energy has been there. We know if we play defense we can win because we've got enough good scorers on this team."
Noelle Quinn scored a career-high 24 points, topping her career-best for the second straight game, to lead the Sparks (3-11). They fell to 0-4 since leading scorer Candace Parker was lost for the season with a shoulder injury.
"I've been a little more aggressive looking for my shot," Quinn said.
Marie Ferdinand-Harris, who replaced Parker in the starting lineup, added 12 points.
"The third quarter has been our Achilles' heel this year," Quinn said. "We have to put together a whole 40-minute game. That's what always kills us."
Pondexter continued the tear she's been on for the last four games, maintaining her 20-point average over that stretch.
Former Sparks player Taj McWilliams-Franklin added 14 points and Plenette Pierson had 13 for the Liberty (7-7), who controlled the boards 35-22 and improved to 2-4 on the road.
"Same old plague - rebounds," first-year Sparks coach Jennifer Gillom said. "We got to do a better job of controlling the boards. It's why we're not winning ballgames."
New York led 44-35 at halftime, then used a 20-7 run to take its largest lead, 66-45, late in the third quarter. The Sparks chipped away at the deficit in the fourth, when outscored the Liberty 17-14, but never got closer than 12 points.
"We did have mental lapses, in the fourth quarter we kind of let up," Pondexter said. "We can take that with us to the next game because we play Phoenix next and we know we can't have any letups against Phoenix."
The Liberty closed the first half on an 18-9 run. McWilliams-Franklin scored six points and Essence Carson added four.
The Sparks shot 62 percent from the floor in the first quarter, when their biggest lead was five points.
"Our execution wasn't as great in the second half as it was in the first quarter," Gillom said, "especially when teams come at us really physically. We got to be able to sustain their hits."
The Sparks are down to nine players with the losses of Parker and guard Betty Lennox, who has elected to have left knee surgery and will be out four to six weeks.
"We have to make adjustments every day," veteran Tina Thompson said. "We have players playing in different positions, but we're working through it."
FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
NEW YORK 19 25 22 14 80
LOS ANGELES 22 13 16 17 68 FINAL
HIGH SCORERS: NYL - CAPPIE PONDEXTER 19, TAJ
MCWILLIAMS-FRANKLIN 14, PLENETTE
LOS - NOELLE QUINN 24, MARIE FERDINAND-HARRIS
12, DELISHA MILTON-JONES 10
Jun 30 12:31 AM
NEW YORK 19
LOS ANGELES 22 END, 1ST QTR
Jun 29 10:56 PM
- WNBA Capsules May 21
- WNBA Capsules May 21
- WNBA Capsules May 15
- WNBA Capsules May 14
- NY Liberty acquire Wings' Amanda Zahui B for draft pick May 11
- Indiana trades Layshia Clarendon to Atlanta for draft pick May 10
- Minnesota Lynx re-sign ex-Gopher center Janel McCarville May 7
- Liberty trade for All-Star guard Shoni Schimmel May 2
- Taurasi, Catchings, Bird headline US women's Olympic team Apr 27
- Candace Parker disappointed, will not be on US hoops roster Apr 26
- AP Sources: Candace Parker left off Rio roster Apr 25
- LA Sparks guard Riquna Williams to miss season with injury Mar 30