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Pondexter lifts Liberty past last-place Mystics

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NEWARK, N.J. — Cappie Pondexter scored 22 points to lead the New York Liberty to a 75-62 victory over the last-place Washington Mystics on Wednesday night.

 

Nicole Powell had 15 points and Kia Vaughn added 10 for New York (13-17), which went 4-2 on a six-game homestand — including two wins against Washington. The Liberty also moved a half-game ahead of Chicago for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Monique Currie scored 24 points for Washington (5-25), which has lost nine straight. The Mystics dropped to 1-15 on the road this season, with their lone win against the Liberty on July 13 in the last game before the league's monthlong Olympic break.

The Liberty grabbed the lead with an 11-2 run that started at the end of the third and carried over into the fourth quarter. Pondexter made a 3-pointer with about 28 seconds left in the third to put the Liberty in front 56-55, and Vaughn opened the fourth with back-to-back jumpers to extend the lead to five with 7:23 remaining.

Pondexter's 3 gave New York a 67-58 advantage with 4:43 to go, and Washington got no closer than seven the rest of the way. The Liberty scored the final six points of the game.

Washington pulled within one on Currie's free throws in the opening minute of the third. Her layup with 8:18 to go in the period put the Mystics ahead for the first time at 40-39.

There were three ties and three lead changes over the next 3 minutes until Currie's layup started a 7-0 spurt that put the Mystics ahead 53-49 on Langhorne's layup with 3:41 to go.

Shannon Bobbitt hit a 3 as the shot clock expired with 2:08 remaining in the third that appeared to stretch the Mystics' lead to seven. However, the basket was reviewed after the period and ruled to have come after the shot clock.

Pondexter's 3 with about 3½ minutes remaining in the second quarter gave the Liberty a 30-22 lead — their largest in the first half.

The Mystics then went on a 12-4 run. Jasmine Thomas had a layup and Currie made two free throws to cut Washington's deficit in half. Pondexter and Powell had jumpers around a layup by Currie, and the Mystics then scored six consecutive points to tie it at 34 on Langhorne's layup with about 10 seconds left in the half.

Leilani Mitchell's 3 with 2.4 seconds to go gave the Liberty a three-point lead at the break.

Thomas was down on the court at the other end with an apparent injury to her right knee, and was carried off the court to the Mystics' bench by teammate Ashley Robinson and team trainer Navin Hettiarachchi. However, after a couple of minutes, she was able to walk to the locker room at halftime and played in the second half.

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