Final

Liberty 78

(8-9, 3-5 away)

Storm 87

(11-10, 7-3 home)

    10:00 PM ET, July 19, 2005

    Key Arena, Seattle, WA

    1 2 3 4 T
    NY 26 52 78
    SEA 45 42 87

    Top Performers

    New York: E. Baranova 11 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 4 Blk

    Seattle: I. Castro Marques 20 Pts, 2 Reb, 1 Ast

    Castro Marques, Lennox step up for Seattle

    SEATTLE (AP) -- When superstar Lauren Jackson limped off the court with a sprained ankle, all the momentum drained from Seattle's offensive surge.

    Yet the Storm held on for their third straight win.

    Iziane Castro Marques scored a career-high 20 points and Betty Lennox added 18, leading Seattle to an 87-78 win over the New York Liberty on Tuesday night.

    Jackson had 10 points and five rebounds, but the Australian standout -- the WNBA's MVP in 2003 -- left with 7:19 to play with a sprained right ankle. She had surgery on that ankle before the season, but the sprain was considered unrelated.

    "There's a little bit of pain right now, a little in the ankle and the heel," Jackson said. "I've just got to wait and see. It's hard. I've had so much work done on my ankle and everything's so tight in there."

    She's listed as day-to-day and will be re-examined Wednesday.

    Jackson bumped into New York's Catherine Kraayeveld from behind as the Liberty rookie cut through the lane. Jackson jammed her foot into the court and immediately dropped, wincing as she scooted to the baseline.

    "I just rolled it," she said. "It's a sprain, but it's just too early to say anything."

    Janelle Burse had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Seattle. The Storm led by as many as 22 points in the second half and 68-48 when Jackson left, surviving a late charge when the Liberty capitalized on her absence.

    "Lauren is one of our best fighters," Storm coach Anne Donovan said. "She sets a real solid tone for us. We need to maintain that. With or without Lauren, we need to be fighters."

    New York cut the margin to 71-64 with 4:22 remaining after 3-pointers by Erin Thorn and Becky Hammon, part of a 22-6 burst that pulled the Liberty into contention in the closing minutes.

    "We didn't quit and we fought back," New York coach Pat Coyle said. "We stuck together. I thought our bench came in and helped us. We have to have everybody contributing, and I thought they did a nice job."

    Seattle's Suzy Batkovic, a teammate of Jackson's on the Australian Olympic team, made a big 3-pointer at the other end to boost the Storm's lead to 74-64. She also made two free throws and made a layup for a 78-66 lead with 2:10 to go.

    New York had to foul, and Sue Bird, Lennox and Burse combined to shoot 9-of-10 from the free-throw line in the final minute to seal the win.

    "One good thing about not playing a good game, it keeps us in check," Bird said. "You never want to get too cocky or too confident about anything. When our team plays like we have something to prove, that's when we play our best."

    Hammon led the Liberty with 18 points, while Vickie Johnson and Shameka Christon each scored 15. Elena Baranova had 11 and Crystal Robinson 10.

    It was a huge night for Castro Marques, a third-year player who started and was the No. 2 scorer behind WNBA veteran Janeth Arcain on the Brazilian team that played at the Athens Olympics.

    "I was talking to coach Donovan the other day," Castro Marques said. "Now, I know what she wants from me. I'm comfortable with my teammates and comfortable in the system and now I can just play my game. I know what she wants."

    The Storm used a 17-0 run to blow things open midway through the first half. Marques scored six in that burst, with Lennox adding four and Bird swishing a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 41-20 with 3:28 before halftime.

    "I called two timeouts but we never recovered from it," Coyle said. "Seattle just came out of a timeout and came after us. We lost our poise."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

      New York Seattle
    Points 78 87
    FG Made-Attempted 25-61 (.000) 28-65 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-21 (.286) 7-19 (.368)
    FT Made-Attempted 22-23 (.000) 24-27 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-32 10-31
    Assists 16 17
    Turnovers 14 10
    Steals 8 10
    Blocks 6 3
    Fast Break Points 6 21
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 18 (0/0)