Harding scores 21 to lead Mystics, who remain undefeated

WASHINGTON -- Lindsey Harding scored 21 points and the undefeated Washington Mystics scored the final 16 points in a 77-61 win over the New York Liberty on Friday night.

Monique Currie scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half and Crystal Langhorne finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Mystics (3-0), who overcame a sloppy start in their home opener.

"It's been the case with our team this year, we find a way to win," Washington coach Julie Plank said. "I thought our defense turned it up. We played an excellent second half."

After the Liberty tied it at 61 with 6:21 remaining in the fourth, the Mystics took the lead for good on a pair of free throws by Harding.

Cappie Pondexter led the Liberty (1-1) with 14 points, and Janel McCarville and Nicole Powell each added 10.

"I'm glad it's the second game of the season and not the 14th," Pondexter said. "A lot to improve on, but staying positive. A lot more basketball ahead of us."

New York turned a three-point halftime hole into a 45-39 lead with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter, but the Liberty made only 2 of 15 field goals in the fourth.

Currie, who entered as the WNBA's leading scorer at 24 points per game, scored nine in the fourth quarter.

"At halftime I cleared my mind and really just let the first half go," Currie said. "It's a game of two halves and I was ready to play when the second half came."

The Mystics closed the second quarter on a 15-2 run, including the final 12 points despite Currie being saddled with three fouls. Harding started the stretch with a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock, scored the next two Mystics baskets on nifty drives to the hoop and then ended the half with a jumper with 3.3 seconds remaining for a 31-28 halftime lead.

"Lindsey definitely gave them the energy that they were looking for," Pondexter said. "They kind of started off slow and we started well and she picked it up and gave them momentum."

Game notes
Mystics first round pick Jacinta Monroe made her debut after missing the first two games because of an ankle injury. She had two points in four minutes.