Sky eliminated from playoffs despite topping Liberty

CHICAGO -- With their playoff hopes extinguished at halftime and starting center Chasity Melvin in the hospital with an eye injury, Jia Perkins found new motivation.

Perkins had 24 points as the Chicago Sky beat the New York Liberty 77-65 Tuesday night, snapping a five-game losing streak.

"Every second we had, we tried to ask to see how [Melvin was] doing or what's going on. We were very worried about her," Perkins said. "When I was out there, I was trying to play and play for her. She wants us to win."

Stacey Dales had 17 points, Candice Dupree 16 and Dominique Canty added 12 for Chicago (13-19), which was eliminated from the playoffs when Washington beat Connecticut earlier in the night.

Chicago lost Melvin in the first quarter when she was poked in the eye by Shameka Christon, causing her eyeball to come out of its socket. Melvin left the court holding a towel over her left eye and received treatment at a local hospital before returning to the arena.

"I really feel like I'm going to have nightmares," she said. "It was kind of traumatizing. I really felt my eyeball coming out. I felt it coming out and I felt it outside of my face. It's going to take some time to get over this."

Preliminary tests showed no loss of vision, a team spokeswoman said.

Jessica Davenport scored 14 points, and Janel McCarville and Shameka Christon each added 11 for the Liberty (13-18), who have lost 10 of 13 and fell 1 1/2 games behind the Mystics for the East's fourth and final playoff berth. Loree Moore had six assists and seven rebounds as New York fell to 0-12 when they score under 70 points.

"You have to forget [the loss]," New York head coach Pat Coyle said. "We have to win out right now. That's what it comes down to."

The Liberty visit the Mystics on Thursday night.

The Sky used a 12-2 run, including the final eight points of the third quarter, to take a 59-47 lead with 8:51 left in the fourth quarter. The Liberty answered with a 10-2 run to cut their deficit to four, but Chicago hit three straight baskets to take a 73-61 lead with 1:18 left in regulation.

"I don't think we played good defense at all," Christon said. "We didn't get stops. We didn't come out the way we should have in the second half."

The Sky opened the second half with a 9-0 run to take a five point lead, but New York scored three straight baskets to take a 44-43 lead with 5:13 left in the third quarter.

The Liberty shot 56 percent (14-of-25) in the first half and led 38-34. Chicago shot 39.4 percent (13-of-33) in the half but had five fewer turnovers.

Trailing 18-13 late in the first quarter, New York went on a 18-6 run and took a seven point lead midway through the second quarter.