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Leilani helps Liberty rally for win

NEWARK, N.J. -- Kennewick High grad Leilani Mitchell helped spark the New York Liberty's defensive effort, finishing with three steals in a 71-67 victory over the visiting Chicago Sky on Tuesday night.

Cappie Pondexter scored 19 points, Plenette Pierson had 17 and the Liberty rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Kia Vaughn added 15 points and Essence Carson 14 for New York (17-13), which had lost five of its previous nine.

Mitchell started the game but failed to score, missing on her five shots -- four from 3-point range.

"Our energy created a lot of things for us," Pondexter said. "Even though everything was kind of going bad, we let it go and just moved on."

Carson had 12 points and Pondexter 10 in the final period as the Liberty used a 22-2 run over a late 6 1/2-minute stretch in the fourth. In Chicago's last visit to Prudential Center on Aug. 4, New York had a 16-1 scoring edge in the fourth quarter and won 59-49.

New York won for the fourth time in six games. Both losses were by one point -- including a 74-73 defeat at Chicago on Sunday

The Liberty took three of five in the season series with the Sky, and the home team won each matchup. New York, third in the Eastern Conference, pulled to 2 1/2 games behind first-place Indiana and remained one-half game ahead of Atlanta. Chicago dropped 2 1/2 behind the Dream for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East.

Sylvia Fowles scored 22 points and Epiphanny Prince had 15 for the Sky (14-16), who had won four of their previous five. Chicago finished with 22 turnovers, including six in the fourth quarter that New York turned into 10 points.

After Fowles' three-point play with 7:49 remaining gave Chicago its biggest lead of the game at 60-46, the Liberty went on their big run and limited her to just two points the rest of the way.

Pondexter scored seven points during the run, including a pair of free throws with 2:27 left that gave New York its first lead since just before halftime.

Carson made a free throw to start it, Pondexter hit a 3 and then capped a 10-0 run with two free throws to pull New York to 60-56 with 5:13 to go.

Prince made two from the line with under 4 1/2 minutes remaining to end the Sky's drought, but Powell made two free throws, and Carson and Pierson had consecutive layups to tie the score at 62 with 3:08 remaining. After Pondexter put New York up, Carson added a jumper just before the 1-minute mark for a 68-62 lead.

Prince later hit a 3 with about 17 seconds remaining to pull the Sky within three, but the Liberty made 3 of 4 from the line to seal the win.

CHICAGO (67)

Snow 0-1 0-0 0, Young 2-4 4-4 8, Fowles 9-11 4-5 22, Canty 2-7 3-3 7, Thorn 2-3 1-1 6, Prince 4-15 3-3 15, Kraayeveld 1-3 0-0 2, Vandersloot 0-5 2-2 2, Swords 2-2 1-1 5, Wisdom-Hylton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-51 18-19 67.

NEW YORK (71)

Pierson 6-13 5-6 17, Powell 0-5 2-2 2, Vaughn 5-9 5-6 15, Mitchell 0-5 0-0 0, Pondexter 5-13 8-9 19, Carson 4-8 5-8 14, Montgomery 0-1 0-0 0, Hollingsworth 0-2 1-2 1, Braxton 1-3 1-2 3. Totals 21-59 27-35 71.

Chicago 18 14 20 15 -- 67

New York 11 20 10 30 -- 71

3-Point Goals--Chicago 5-15 (Prince 4-8, Thorn 1-2, Canty 0-1, Vandersloot 0-2, Kraayeveld 0-2), New York 2-12 (Pondexter 1-2, Carson 1-2, Pierson 0-1, Montgomery 0-1, Powell 0-2, Mitchell 0-4). Fouled Out--None. Rebounds--Chicago 34 (Fowles 8), New York 42 (Pierson 8). Assists--Chicago 15 (Thorn 4), New York 11 (Pondexter, Powell 3). Total Fouls--Chicago 24, New York 18. A--6,334 (18,500).

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