- The Washington Times - Friday, July 18, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) | Ashley Battle scored 15 points and Janel McCarville had 12 to help the New York Liberty cruise to a 77-56 victory over the Washington Mystics on Thursday night.

Shameka Christon added 10 points for New York, which won for the fifth time in seven games, including a season-high third straight.

The Liberty moved three games above .500 for the first time since they were 6-3 last year. New York also won its fifth straight at home to improve to 8-2 at Madison Square Garden.

Alana Beard scored 15 points, and Taj McWilliams-Franklin had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Mystics. Washington shot 34 percent from the field and committed 22 turnovers that led to 27 points for New York.

After trailing by 13 points in the second quarter, the Mystics used a 12-4 run over the first 4:02 of the third quarter to pull to 47-44. Nakia Sanford had five points, and Kendra Wecker hit a 3-pointer for Washington during the spurt.

However, the Mystics scored just one more point the rest of the quarter. McCarville’s three-point play with 5:21 left started New York’s 19-1 run for a 66-45 lead on Tiffany Jackson’s jumper with 7:47 left in the fourth quarter.

McWilliams-Franklin had a layup 12 seconds later for the Mystics’ first field goal in nearly 8 1/2 minutes. Washington didn’t get any closer than 15 the rest of the way.

With the win, the Liberty clinched the three-game series against the Mystics. New York, which won the first meeting at home May 24, visits Washington next Wednesday.

New York scored eight consecutive points to take a 39-26 lead with 1:56 left in the second quarter. Erin Thorn hit a jumper, and Cathrine Kraayeveld had a 3 to stretch the lead to 10, and after Beard and Sanford missed two free throws each, Thorn followed with a 3 for the Liberty’s biggest lead of the opening half.

Lisa Willis had five points and Christon four during a 15-4 run over a 3 1/2-minute stretch late in the first quarter that gave New York a 23-16 lead in the final minute of the period.

Comets 96, Lynx 88

HOUSTON | Tina Thompson scored 25 points off the bench, helping Houston snap a three-game losing streak with a victory over Minnesota.

Houston led 71-63 when Lynx star Candice Wiggins made a 3-pointer less than a minute into the fourth quarter. The Comets responded with an 8-2 run capped by a jumper from Hamchetou Maiga-Ba with 5:05 left to put the game away.

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