4:00 PM ET, May 20, 2007
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
NEW YORK (AP) -- After a sluggish start, the new-look New York Liberty ran past the Chicago Sky.Erin Thorn scored a career-high 28 points to rally the Liberty to an 83-71 victory over the Sky on Sunday in the season opener for both teams.Shameka Christon scored 14 points, Loree Moore had 12 and Cathrine Kraayeveld 10 for New York, which was down by 12 early in the third quarter."First game jitters," Liberty coach Pat Coyle said. "It took a long time to settle into the game. I think once we did, we started executing and finally started getting some stops."Thorn hit a career-best seven 3-pointers to help New York match a franchise record with 13. The Liberty also hit 13 3s at Chicago last July 25, and topped their Madison Square Garden mark of 12 against Phoenix last July 9."It was nice," said Thorn, who missed three 3s and 5 of 6 inside the arc. "It is more important to win games. If I am not hitting those shots, I want someone else out there hitting those shots."New York shot 43 percent from the field, including 13-for-20 on 3s, and 18-for-20 on free throws.The Liberty, playing their first regular-season game since trading Becky Hammon in the offseason, snapped a seven-game losing skid in season openers and improved to 2-1 when opening at home."To get that first victory on the home court is not only a confidence boost, but it is exactly what we want to do," Thorn said.Monique Currie had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead Chicago, and Candice Dupree added 12 points."I thought we came out and attacked and played very hard," Sky coach Bo Overton said. "New York really played well in the second half, and that kind of got us where we got on our heels a little bit. A couple of shots didn't go down. I thought we played very well in the first (half) and not so well in the second."Overton was head coach at Missouri-Kansas City before leaving in December to joining the Sky for their second season.Thorn's fifth 3 of the game in the opening minute of the fourth quarter gave New York a 61-59 lead, its first advantage since midway through the second and the Liberty never trailed again."We are at our best when we push the ball," Coyle said. "I'm not so sure why we were so tentative in the first half but fortunately we fixed that."New York used an 11-0 run, including two more 3s by Thorn, to push its lead to 75-63 with 2:56 remaining.Currie made two free throws and added a basket with 1:37 to go to pull Chicago within eight, but that was as close as it got.Chicago led 42-33 at halftime, and Stacey Dales hit a 3 to give the Sky their biggest lead, 49-37, with 8:07 left in the third.Kraayeveld then scored the next eight points, sandwiching two 3s around a layup to pull New York within four midway through the period."You don't get down when you're in a funk," Christon said. "You just have to play your way through it, play hard and do the little things. That's what we did in the third and fourth quarters. We really stepped it up defensively."After Dupree's jumper stretched Chicago's lead back up to nine, Thorn hit two 3s while accounting for all of the Liberty's scoring during a 7-1 run to pull to 55-52 with 2:17 left in the third. Moore's driving layup with 26 seconds left cut Chicago's lead to 59-58.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press