Liberty 68

(3-1, 1-1 away)

Lynx 64

(2-3, 1-1 home)

    6:00 PM ET, May 30, 2004

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    NY 33 35 68
    MIN 29 35 64

    Top Performers

    New York: E. Baranova 16 Pts, 3 Reb, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Minnesota: K. Smith 20 Pts, 3 Reb, 2 Ast

    New York gets third straight win

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- When the Minnesota Lynx took their first lead with 2:25 to play, they thought they were in control of the game.

    Instead, the Liberty took command.

    Playing with poise, the Liberty regained the lead, shut out the Lynx for the next two minutes and pulled away for a 68-64 victory on Sunday.

    "We're a veteran team, and we're supposed to execute under pressure and get the ball to the people who can make shots," Liberty coach Richie Adubato said.

    Elena Baranova scored 16 points and rookie Shameka Christon added 11 to lead the Liberty to their third straight win and first on the road after dropping their season-opener by a basket at Indiana.

    Amanda Lassiter's 3-pointer put Minnesota ahead 58-57, but the Liberty got a clutch basket from Crystal Robinson on their next possession.

    Then Baranova hit a short runner, and Becky Hammon added two free throws to restore New York's comfortable lead.

    Katie Smith -- who led Minnesota with 20 points -- and Amber Jacobs hit 3-pointers in the final 15 seconds to get the Lynx close, but Christon hit four free throws down the stretch to seal the victory for New York.

    "We got some clutch shots from the foul line from a rookie," Adubato said. "That's a lot of pressure that she had to deal with, and she made all of them."

    The Liberty also got some clutch team defense, which is becoming their trademark. They entered the game with a league-best .362 defensive field goal percentage. Minnesota hit just one of its first nine shots and missed its first eight 3-pointers.

    "We had a lot of good looks, but we just could not connect," said Smith, who was 6-for-15 from the floor but led the comeback with 4-for-8 on 3-pointers. "We've got to find a way to make plays not just at the end of the game. We've got to take pride in every possession."

    The Lynx seemed to be grabbing control of the game when Lassiter hit a 3-pointer from the corner to put them ahead 58-57,

    But New York answered with Robinson's uncontested 18-foot jumper after shaking free from her defender and the Liberty never trailed again.

    "We had a number of little lapses that we need to eliminate, because we worked so hard to come back," Minnesota coach Suzie McConnell Serio said.

    Hammon, who had a career-high and franchise-record 33 points in the Liberty's win at Minnesota last year, finished with nine points, eight rebounds and eight assists for New York.

    The Liberty jumped out to 9-2 lead behind a pair of putbacks by Tari Phillips. The Lynx cut the deficit to 15-14, but New York stretched the lead back to 31-20 when Christon hit a 3 and another long jump shot on consecutive trips.

    Smith connected from behind the arc on back-to-back possessions late in the first half, and Teresa Edwards hit a 3 at the buzzer to cut New York's lead to 33-29 at the half.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

      New York Minnesota
    Points 68 64
    FG Made-Attempted 27-59 (.000) 23-66 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 4-10 (.400) 9-28 (.321)
    FT Made-Attempted 10-13 (.000) 9-10 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-34 10-30
    Assists 21 18
    Turnovers 16 14
    Steals 7 8
    Blocks 4 7
    Fast Break Points 6 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (0/0) 16 (0/0)