- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - The Liberty have been finding ways to win close games lately.

New York nearly blew an 18-point lead against Seattle before holding on for a 78-74 victory on Wednesday night. The Liberty have won five of their past six games that have either gone to overtime or been decided by four points or fewer.

“We said we don’t want to just be a mediocre team,” said Tina Charles, who led New York with 18 points. “It was good finding a way to win again as we didn’t want to lose two straight games.”

Since dropping three in a row at the end of May, including two in overtime, New York has won 11 of 14 overall. Tanisha Wright added a season-high 18 points for the Liberty (13-6).

New York led for the entire game, building its advantage to 18 in the first half before Seattle rallied behind Breanna Stewart, the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft this past April. She finished with 24 points and 16 rebounds.

“It’s frustrating losing, but we are competing,” Stewart said. “We were coming off a back-to-back and wanted to be competitive with one of the best teams in the league.”

The Storm (6-12) trailed by seven midway through the fourth before Stewart scored five straight to get them within 75-73. After getting a stop on the defensive end, Sue Bird was fouled with 4.9 seconds left and hit the first of two free throws. Her second bounced off the rim and New York grabbed the rebound.

Wright hit two free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining and Seattle turned the ball over on its last possession to seal the game.

Bird, who grew up on Long Island and said she had about 60 family and friends at the game, matched her season high with 10 assists. She also had 10 assists against New York in the earlier meeting this season in Seattle.

A beautiful rendition of the national anthem was sung before the game by a group of students from Daniel’s Music Foundation. The New York-based music school was founded in 2006, nine years after Daniel Trush had a burst arterial brain aneurysm at 12 years old. Now 32 years old, Trush was part of the group singing.

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