Cappie Pondexter got hot and the Sun set into another early-season WNBA defeat.
Scoring 18 of her game-high 20 points in the second half, Pondexter led New York from an 11-point third quarter deficit Friday night as it rallied past the Connecticut Sun 78-68 in front of 5,845 observers at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Leilani Mitchell came off the bench to add 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Liberty (4-2). Kara Braxton added 11 points and 13 rebounds, while 39-year old Katie Smith contributed 10 points.
Allison Hightower paced the Sun with 17 points and five assists, while Kara Lawson added 16 points, six rebounds and six assists. But Connecticut (2-4) wasn't able to build on its 73-61 win Wednesday night over WNBA champion Indiana.
Things looked promising for the Sun early as they carved out a 33-24 halftime lead, largely because of their defense. New York missed 24 of its first 29 shots until late in the first half.
But once Pondexter found the range, Connecticut's inability to consistently hit its shots became a huge issue. The Sun finished the night 26-of-75 from the field, with All-Star center Tina Charles suffering through a miserable 3-of-17 evening and playing just 25 minutes due to foul trouble.
Pondexter capped a 14-point third quarter with a buzzer-beating jumper that gave the Liberty a 56-55 lead. She then sank two more jumpers as New York established a 63-55 advantage less than a minute into the fourth quarter.
Connecticut pulled within 72-68 with 2:07 left, but Smith's layup with 1:06 remaining made it a six-point game. Mitchell sank four straight free throws in the last 44 seconds to wrap it up.