NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Liberty were a hit in their Radio
City Music Hall debut.
Elena Baranova had 16 of her 21 points in the second half to
lead New York to a 78-69 victory over the Detroit Shock on Saturday
night as the Liberty took the stage for the first of six home games
at the famed concert hall because of next month's Republican
National Convention at Madison Square Garden.
The famous Rockettes reclaimed the stage at halftime, performing
their famous kick-line for a capacity crowd of 5,945.
"It was fun, something different," said New York guard Becky
Hammon, who earlier this week was selected as a reserve for the
WNBA All-Star team that will play the U.S. Olympic squad at Radio
City next month.
Detroit's Swin Cash ran right off the stage early in the second
half in pursuit of a loose ball.
"I wasn't worried about the stage or falling off," said Cash,
who led Detroit with 21 points. "I was just trying to get my team
The only previous sporting event at Radio City was Jan. 15,
2000, when Roy Jones Jr. beat David Telesco in a 12-round
light-heavyweight title fight.
"It was a great atmosphere," Detroit's Ruth Riley said. "I
think the fans had fun. It is a historic day. Unfortunately, we did
not get the win."
Hammon had 17 points and Vickie Johnson added 16 points and
eight rebounds to help New York win its third straight and fifth in
Baranova tied a career high with five 3-pointers and also had
"She was terrific," New York interim coach Pat Coyle said.
"She made a lot of big shots for us, and she got a lot of key
Riley, named to the U.S. Olympic team as a replacement for the
injured DeLisha Milton-Jones on Thursday, had 18 points and 13
rebounds and Deanna Nolan added 15 points and nine rebounds for the
defending WNBA champions.
New York moved into a tie with Connecticut atop the Eastern
Conference. The Sun beat San Antonio earlier in the day, and
Indiana lost to Phoenix and fell into a third-place tie a half-game
behind the leaders.
"Every game is huge," Coyle said. "Just last week we were in
After the Liberty took their biggest lead of the game at 72-60
with 24.5 seconds remaining, Detroit got as close as five on Cash's
3-pointer with six seconds left. However, Baranova and Johnson both
added a pair of free throws in the final five seconds for the final
"We were playing our third game in four nights and we got tired
down the stretch," Shock coach Bill Laimbeer said. "We also had
some bad turnovers and didn't shoot well from the free-throw
Detroit led 35-34 at halftime, before New York took the lead
with four straight points from Johnson early in the second half.
The Shock scored eight straight to regain the edge four minutes
into the period.
However, Baranova singlehandedly evened the score with three 3s
during the Liberty's 9-4 run that made it 47-47 with 12:45
New York trailed for the final time 53-51 about midway through
the period before a 16-3 run opened an 11-point lead.
Both teams struggled with their shots in the first half. Detroit
made five of its first 14 (35.7 percent), and New York opened
4-of-14 (28.6 percent). The Liberty finished at 40 percent
(26-for-65), and limited the Shock to 33 percent.