Greene, Pierson lead Liberty past Silver StarsJul 28, 2010 - 3:19 AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Liberty bounced back from a disappointing loss and got needed victory to keep pace in the Eastern Conference.
Rookie Kalana Greene scored a season-high 17 points, Plenette Pierson had 16 and the Liberty beat the San Antonio Silver Stars 77-72 Tuesday night. Cappie Pondexter added 13 points and Leilani Mitchell 10.
"It's awesome when we play great basketball, great team basketball," said Pondexter, who shot 4 for 12 from the field and finished eight points below her season average. "It feels good not having to force everything or take all the shots."
The Liberty (12-11) won for the fifth time in seven games and remained one game behind Connecticut for the fourth and final playoff position in the East.
"Right now we are trying to get to climb up to fourth, hopefully third and you never know, maybe we get to second," Pondexter said. "We are going to keep fighting. We've shown a lot of resilience. We play hard, we work hard and we we just hope that it pays off."
Greene, Pierson and Essence Carson helped the Liberty reserves outscore their Silver Stars counterparts 41-10. Pierson shot 8 for 10 from the field and Greene was 7 for 11.
"Plenette, Kalana, Essence all came in and gave us a big lift," Liberty coach Anne Dononvan said. "More than half of our points came from those three, and 11 boards to go with it. When your number is called you've got to be ready to go. ... All three stepped up."
Chamique Holdsclaw scored 18 points and Michelle Snow had 14 to lead the Silver Stars (8-15), losers of eight of their last 11. Sophia Young added 12 points and Becky Hammon 10.
"We've lost 4 or 5 games in the last stretch to a one-possession game," Hammon said. "It's tough, we're having to battle through some things and we're just not closing well."
The Liberty have had problems with that, too. New York was coming off an 82-75 loss at Atlanta on Sunday in which it led by a point with less than 3 minutes to go, but was outscored 11-0 until Mitchell hit a 3-pointer at the final buzzer. Against San Antonio, the Liberty built an eight-point lead early in the fourth quarter and held on for the win.
The Silver Stars got no closer than four until Roneeka Hodges' 3 with 44 seconds left pulled San Antonio to 75-72.
Pondexter lost the ball on the ensuing Liberty possession, but they got the ball back on a jump ball. Mitchell was fouled and made a free throw with 20.4 seconds to go, giving New York a four-point lead.
Hodges missed a long 3 on San Antonio's next possession. Carson missed two free throws for the Liberty with 16.1 seconds left. The Silver Stars turned the ball over on their ensuing possession and Taj McWilliams-Franklin hit a free throw with 5.8 seconds remaining to seal the win.
"We had stops tonight where we didn't get them in Atlanta," Donovan said. "We've had different games where that's happened, at the end of games. There's no easy games in this league. No team is going to walk away with a big win. There's not been a game we haven't been in. In Atlanta, we just didn't close it down with stops. ... Tonight, we did. We got stops when we had to have them."
New York also had a late letdown last Tuesday at Connecticut. The Liberty led by 13 points with more than 4 minutes left in regulation, but allowed the Sun to tie it before New York prevailed in overtime.
"We keep putting ourselves in a hole," said Greene, whose 3-pointer gave the Liberty a 67-59 lead with 8:11 left. "We have a lead and give ourselves a cushion, then teams go on their run. We expect teams to go on a run, but it's how we react and we reacted beautifully (tonight)."
Mitchell made three 3-pointers and has 17 in the last five games while shooting 61 percent from beyond the arc during the stretch. For the season, she is at 46 percent.
"Lei is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league," Pondexter said. "Teams are starting to realize that you can't leave her open. She's deadly."
After Mitchell hit a 3 to open the third quarter, San Antonio scored the next six points to take a 42-39 lead on Holdsclaw's layup with about 8 minutes to go in the period. Pondexter had a layup and made two free throws to put the Liberty ahead 45-44 nearly 2 1/2 minutes later. Snow follwed with two free throws of her own to regain San Antonio's lead.
However, Pierson had hit a jumper to put New York ahead again, 47-46 near the midpoint of the third, and the Liberty didn't trail again.
FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
SAN ANTONIO 13 23 21 15 72
NEW YORK 18 18 25 16 77 FINAL
HIGH SCORERS: SAN - CHAMIQUE HOLDSCLAW 18, MICHELLE SNOW 14,
SOPHIA YOUNG 12
NYL - KALANA GREENE 17, PLENETTE PIERSON 16,
CAPPIE PONDEXTER 13
Jul 27 9:31 PM
SAN ANTONIO 13
NEW YORK 18 END, 1ST QTR
Jul 27 7:54 PM
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