NEWARK, N.J. -- After losing the opener of their playoff series against Indiana, the New York Liberty relied on their strength in Game 2: their defense.
Nicole Powell scored 19 points, Plenette Pierson had 15 and the Liberty beat the Fever 87-72 Saturday to even the best-of-three Eastern Conference semifinals.
Cappie Pondexter scored 14, Essence Carson had 12 and Kia Vaughn 10 for New York, which had 11 steals, blocked five shots, and scored 28 points off Indiana's 18 turnovers.
Kennewick High grad Leilani Mitchell had nine points, setting a playoff career-high with three 3-point field goals on four attempts. She started at point guard, playing 24 minutes.
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Before the game, Vaughn was named the WNBA's most improved player -- the award that Mitchell claimed last season.
The Liberty shot 50 percent from the field (30 for 60) and were 20 for 21 on free throws. Pierson shot 7 for 11 and Powell was 6 for 9.
Katie Douglas scored 20 points and Shavonte Zellous had 13 for the Fever. Indiana leading scorer Tamika Catchings was held to two points on 1-for-8 shooting from the field. She had nine rebounds, but finished with six turnovers.
Game 3 is Monday night in Indianapolis.