NEW YORK -- The Houston Comets learned from their last loss and pulled out a key road victory at Madison Square Garden.
Tina Thompson scored 26 points and Tamecka Dixon, playing her sixth game since rejoining the Comets, had a season-high 20 to lead Houston to an 80-74 victory over the New York Liberty on Friday night.
Houston (7-15) was coming off a 65-58 loss at Washington on Wednesday in which the Comets allowed the Mystics to close with a 17-1 run. Against the Liberty, Dixon scored nine points in the fourth quarter and Thompson had eight in the final 2 minutes.
"I think we did a better job of executing down the stretch," Dixon said. "That's one of the things we keyed on after our loss in Washington."
The Comets led by 10 with 5:53 to go in the second quarter before New York used a 17-2 run to pull ahead. However, Dixon hit a jumper, and Thompson made a 3 with 5.6 seconds to get the Comets even heading into halftime.
"Closing out that [quarter] with that 5-0 run was really big," Dixon said. "We have to find a way to turn the tables when teams make runs like that a little bit quicker. We can't let teams to reel off 17 quick points on us."
Hamchetou Maiga-Ba added 10 points for the Comets, who had lost four of six.
"Anytime you can go on the road and get a win, especially at the Garden, it's huge," Houston coach Karleen Thompson said. "It's a great morale booster to keep us confident, and know that we can win games if we stick together and play tough basketball and recover from our lapses."
Cathrine Kraayeveld scored a career-high 31 points to lead New York (10-11), which lost its third straight. Kraayeveld's previous high was 22 against Connecticut last July 24.
"I really rather see the team win," Kraayeveld said. "It's not about the statistics. It's more important to play well and get the win."
Coupled with Connecticut's 76-58 win over Seattle, the Liberty dropped into fourth place in the Eastern Conference -- a half-game behind the Sun.
"Our goal is to get better every day," New York coach Pat Coyle said. "We're going to look at tape and see where we made mistakes. We're going to learn from it, and we're going to be better on Sunday [against the Storm]."
After New York pulled within one point on Erin Thorn's 3-pointer with 4:16 to go, Thompson had a layup nearly 2 1/2 minutes later and added a jumper with 1:14 left to push Houston's lead to 73-68.
Kraayeveld and Janel McCarville, who had 10 rebounds, both missed layups under the basket with about 1 minute left, and Thompson hit two free throws with 30 seconds to go. Kraayeveld's three-point play pulled New York to 77-74 with 21.3 seconds left, but that was as close as the Liberty got.
Crystal Smith made one free throw and Thompson sank two to secure the win.
"They hit the big shots at the end and they ended up sealing the game," McCarville said.
Houston used a 10-0 run spanning halftime to take a 43-38 lead. Maiga-Ba opened the third quarter with a tiebreaking jumper 24 seconds in, and capped the run with a free throw with 8:24 left in the period. Dixon's three-point play stretched Houston's lead to 56-48 nearly 5 minutes later.
Shameka Christon made two free throws with 58 seconds left in the third quarter and then hit a fadeaway jumper 15 seconds into the fourth to pull New York to 60-58.
However, the Comets went on a 7-2 run, capped by Dixon's 3 with 6:04 left, to push the lead back to seven. The Liberty responded with a 9-2 run and pulled to 69-68 on Thorn's 3.
After Loree Moore beat the buzzer to pull the Liberty to 17-16 at the end of the first quarter, Houston opened the second with a 12-3 run to open its 10-point lead. Kraayeveld and Thompson traded layups before New York used the 17-2 run, started and ended by jumpers from Ashley Battle, to take a 38-33 lead with 1:34 left in the first half.