NEW YORK -- Janel McCarville admitted she had abandoned her inside game this season. After getting some encouragement to improve the New York Liberty's post play, she changed her focus.
Cappie Pondexter scored 17 points, McCarville had 16 points and 12 rebounds for her second double-double of the season and the Liberty beat the Washington Mystics 75-67 on Thursday.
"I've been playing more outside, kind of settling for jump shots," McCarville said. "When I have put the ball on the floor, it's kind of been out of control and it hasn't always ended in a positive note, so i kind of stopped doing it."
However, with coach Anne Donovan and Liberty president and general manager Carol Blazejowski urging her to focus on her inside play, McCarville has listened.
"I've kind of had Carol and Anne in my ear ... saying 'Go to the basket and stop taking jump shots' and I think it's kind of sunken in at this point," said McCarville, who shot 6-for-11 from the field and matched her season-high scoring total. "I'm really going to try and go to the basket and create more and look a little bit more for my shot as well."
Rookie reserve Kalana Greene added 11 points and Nicole Powell had 10 to help New York (9-9) win for the fifth time in seven games. The Liberty shot 46 percent (26-for-56) from the field four days after making 35 percent in a 57-54 win over Chicago.
"The last game we played, we didn't shoot that well and the team didn't play as well as they know they could," Pondexter said. "Today, they came out and I'm sure they had that on their minds. It's obvious in the score and the way people came out aggressively offensively."
Leilani Mitchell had a career-high seven steals, becoming the second player in franchise history to have at least that many. Teresa Weatherspoon did it three times, including a team-record eight against Charlotte on July 10, 1997.
Crystal Langhorne had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead Washington (12-6), which snapped a four-game winning streak and lost for just the second time in 10 games.
"She just does whatever we need her to do," Mystics coach Julie Plank said. "She is the first one in the gym and the last one to leave. She is totally unselfish and gives our team a lot of confidence."
Monique Currie scored 12 points, Katie Smith added 11 and Lindsey Harding 10 for Washington, which dropped a game behind first-place Atlanta in the Eastern Conference.
After the Mystics cut a 14-point lead to five midway through the fourth quarter, the Liberty went 13-for-16 from the free-throw line to seal the win. Pondexter had eight points, including six free throws, in the final 2:47.
"Coach wants the ball in my hands the last couple of seconds," Pondexter said of late-game possessions. "I want the ball. They fouled, I know I can knock the free throws down and it just happened."
New York used an 18-5 run late in the third quarter to pull away. Greene sandwiched layups around a 3 by Powell to put the Liberty up 47-39 with about 2½ minutes to go in the third quarter. Greene made a 3 in the final minute of the third and a fast-break layup to open the fourth, and McCarville hit a jumper to stretch the Liberty's advantage to 58-44 with 8:09 remaining.
Harding had four points and Currie scored three as Washington scored the next nine points to pull to 58-53 with 5:21 to go. However, that was as close as it got.
"It's a great win," McCarville said. "We can celebrate today, but we got to get back to work tomorrow and start preparing for the next one."
In the third quarter, Pondexter and Mitchell hit consecutive 3-pointers to give the Liberty a 38-35 lead with 6½ minutes left, and they didn't trail again.
The Mystics won the teams' first two meetings at home by an average of 16.5 points and outscored the Liberty in the paint a combined 72-40. Washington still had the advantage in inside scoring this time, but the margin was just 32-26.
Playing for the first time since July 3, the Mystics got off to a sluggish start. They missed six of their first seven shots and turned the ball over six times over the first 7:41.
The Mystics shot just 7-for-24 (29 percent) from the field in the first half but were 12-of-17 from the free-throw line as the Liberty were whistled for 12 fouls.
Currie's layup with 1:50 remaining in the second quarter tied the score at 28-all going into the break.