<
>

Christon's game-winning three nips playoff-bound Liberty past Sky

CHICAGO -- Shameka Christon scored 27 points and hit the game-winning 3-pointer and the playoff-bound New York Liberty earned a 69-62 win over the Chicago Sky on Friday night.

Jessica Davenport had 10 points and 10 rebounds, Erlana Larkins scored 12 and Cathrine Kraayeveld added 10 rebounds and five assists for New York (19-14), which had lost its previous two. Christon finished with five 3-pointers.

"I talked with [Christon] before the game," Liberty coach Pat Coyle said. "I told her we needed some things from her tonight and she went out and did a hell of a job."

The Liberty have one regular-season game left before they face Connecticut in the Eastern Conference semifinals starting Sept. 18.

"That was playoff-atmosphere basketball," Coyle said. "We want to get rolling and I thought that was a good start."

Janel McCarville, New York's second-leading scorer at 14 points a game, missed her third straight game with back spasms.

Candice Dupree scored 18 points for Chicago (12-21). Jia Perkins scored 14 points and rookie Sylvia Fowles added 10 points and three blocks as the Sky fell to 4-4 since the Olympic break.

Christon's 3-pointer from the top of the key gave New York a 65-62 lead with 23.2 seconds remaining.

"I just shoot it, I don't think about it," said Christon, who added a pregame long-range shooting contest with a teammate helped prepare her for the play.

Chicago coach Steven Key credited Christon for hitting a very difficult shot.

"It's tough," he said. "You can't blame anybody, she shot a 28-foot 3-point shot with the clock running down. Who are you going to get mad at?"

The Sky took a 62-60 lead with 1:11 remaining after Perkins hit a free throw to cap a 10-2 run.

Christon had nine points during a 14-2 run to give New York a 52-44 lead with 42 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Dupree's jumper as time expired in the third cut the Liberty's lead to 52-48.

After a pair of free throws from Christon gave New York a two-point lead, Chicago scored six straight points and led 42-38 with 4:42 left in the third.