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Liberty keep up late surge with win over Sky

NEW YORK (AP) -- After enduring a franchise-record 11-game losing
streak, the New York Liberty are enjoying their recent strong play.

Shameka Christon and Ashley Battle scored 21 points apiece to
lead the Liberty to an 80-69 victory over the expansion Chicago Sky
on Saturday night for their fifth win in six games.

"It's been really fun for us," said Battle, who set a career
high for scoring. "We've been pretty loose and confident and going
out there, showing the work really hard. We can't change what
happened early on in the season. All we can do is focus on the now,
and just play hard and keep it going."

Cathrine Kraayeveld added 11 points for New York (9-21). Battle,
signed by New York in the offseason, shot 7-for-8 from the floor
and 6-for-6 from the line.

"[Battle] was terrific," New York coach Pat Coyle said. "When
we got her, we knew she could defend. As long as she takes her time
shooting the 3 or getting to the basket, she's pretty good."

Candice Dupree scored 24 points to lead Chicago (4-26), which
lost for the 12th time in 13 games overall. The Sky also lost their
13th straight on the road since beating Charlotte in the season
opener. Stacey Lovelace had 13 points, Amanda Lassiter added 12 and
Chelsea Newton 11.

"We had a slow start," Dupree said. "We tried to fight, to
come back, but we should've been playing strong since the
beginning."

The Liberty got a lift from a halftime ceremony honoring former
star guard Teresa Weatherspoon. The five-time All-Star and two-time
WNBA defensive player of the year became the second woman inducted
into the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame, joining team general
manager Carol Blazejowski.

Weatherspoon, second on the league's career assists list (1,338)
and third in steals (465), averaged 5.7 points in seven seasons
with the Liberty. She is also the franchise's leader with 1,306
assists and 453 steals.

Weatherspoon was honored with a video shown on the overhead
screen, and presented with a framed photo montage and an official
WNBA backboard inscribed with the names of all the Liberty players
she was teammates with. She also had her name and No. 11 placed on
the sideline as the team's first player on the courtside "Honor
Roll."

"It was a great honor," the Liberty's Becky Hammon said. "Not
only to honor a great women's basketball player, but a special
person. I was very happy to be her teammate. I learned a great deal
from her."

Hammon has missed 11 of the last 12 games due as she recovers
from a sprained left ankle.

Chicago had a 12-2 run to pull to 64-60 on Newton's free throws
with 5:13 left in the game. However, the Liberty scored the next
six points with the help of Chicago coach Dave Cowens' second
technical of the game. The Sky got no closer than six the rest of
the way.

"This team has really begun to do the little things," Coyle
said. "Whether it's screening, blocking out or rebounding, all
these little things add up."

After trailing by 18 early in the second quarter, Chicago used a
9-0 run to pull to 42-37 on Lassiter's 3 with 6:38 left in the
third quarter.

The Liberty then went on a 13-5 run over a stretch of 4½
minutes, helped by the Sky losing their cool. Lassiter was called
for a flagrant for knocking down Christon with 1:18 left in the
third, and Cowens was then charged with a technical foul for
arguing.

New York made all three free throws to push their lead to 55-42.

New York scored the first 10 points before Lovelace hit a jumper
4:27 into the game.

Kraayeveld's layup with 8:10 remaining in the second pushed New
York's lead to 25-7.

The Sky scored the final five points of the first half, pulling
to 40-28 on Lassiter's 3 just before the break.