NEW YORK (AP) -- Becky Hammon and the New York Liberty quickly
made up for a poor performance.
Hammon had 24 points, six assists and one turnover to lead the
New York Liberty to an 80-66 win over the Connecticut Sun at Radio
City Music Hall on Saturday night.
Hammon had a team-high seven turnovers in Friday's 88-79 loss to
the Detroit Shock.
"We were upset with ourselves, the effort we put in," Hammon
said. "We went to bed ticked off, we woke up ticked off. It was
important for us to come out and play tough."
Crystal Robinson added 17 points, and Elena Baranova had nine
points and 13 rebounds for New York, which won for the fourth time
in five games. The Liberty moved into first place in the Eastern
Conference -- a half-game ahead of Charlotte, which lost 62-61 at
Sacramento on Saturday night.
"It's incredible how tight the race is," Liberty interim coach
Pat Coyle said. "Hopefully, when we come back, we will be healthy
and string a couple of wins together against conference teams,
without having to look over our shoulder so much."
This was the final game for both teams before the WNBA's
monthlong Olympic break.
Robinson shot 6-for-8 from the floor, and Hammon was 6-for-12 --
including 5-for-5 on 3-pointers. The Liberty shot 52 percent
overall and 9-for-15 from behind the arc.
Nykesha Sales led the Sun with 18 points, and Taj
McWilliams-Franklin added 15 points and seven rebounds. Connecticut
lost for the sixth time in eight games, and dropped to fourth place
in the East, one game behind New York.
"We have to work like crazy in the last seven games to be where
we are supposed to be," Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "We have to
come back and recommit ourselves to be a good team. We have a
seven-game season to put ourselves in the playoffs."
Hammon scored five points in the final 26.4 seconds to help the
Liberty take a 40-34 lead at the break. New York used a 14-5 run to
stretch its lead to 54-39 less than four minutes into the second
half. Connecticut slowly chipped away and cut the deficit to 65-60
on McWilliams-Franklin's layup with 4:34 left.
Hammon made two of the Liberty's four 3-pointers down the
New York played the second of six straight home games on stage
at the famed concert hall because of next month's Republican
National Convention at Madison Square Garden. The Liberty's next
game is Sept. 2, and they won't return to the Garden until the
regular season finale on Sept. 19.
During the break, Baranova will represent Russia at Athens, and
Hammon, Sales and McWilliams-Franklin will join the WNBA All-Stars
against the U.S. Olympic team Thursday at Radio City.