Silver Stars upend Liberty 77-66

The Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Danielle Robinson had 21 points and the San Antonio Silver Stars earned a 77-66 victory over the New York Liberty on Tuesday.

Shameka Christon added 17 points and Becky Hammon 12 for playoff-bound San Antonio (20-12).

Cappie Pondexter scored 23 points to lead New York (14-18), which is fighting for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Essence Carson had 11 points and Kara Braxton 10.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Liberty.

New York was outscored 22-9 in the fourth quarter and San Antonio rallied for the victory.

The Liberty shot 24 percent (4 for 17) from the field in the fourth and were outrebounded 12-5 in the quarter.

''What was exciting to me was the way we played defensively in the second half, and specifically, in the fourth quarter,'' Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes said. ''(It was) some of the best defense we have played all year against a team that is a good basketball team.''

Hammon's 3-pointer gave San Antonio a 60-59 edge, its first since leading 18-16 with nine minutes left in the first half.

After a turnover by Nicole Powell, Christon made her fifth 3 of the game to give San Antonio a 63-59 lead with 6 minutes left.

San Antonio took a 68-61 lead on Robinson's free throw, which completed a 3-point play following a foul by Pondexter. Robinson scored on a fastbreak layup off a pass from Hammon, who stepped into a passing lane for a steal with 3 minutes left.

The Silver Stars closed the game on a 20-7 run, including a last-second 3-pointer by Pondexter.

''They were hitting shots and clicking on all cylinders,'' Braxton said. ''We really could not contain the ball or stop them.''

San Antonio also opened strongly, scoring the first nine points of the game on a 3-pointer by Christon and three straight baskets by Robinson.

''We needed a spark,'' Robinson said. ''We've kind of started games a little flat so I wanted to make sure that we didn't. I wanted to make sure that I came out aggressive.''

It was the largest advantage either team would have in the first half.

Christon made two more 3s to extend San Antonio's lead to 16-10 with 2 minutes left in the first. New York scored the final two baskets of the quarter to pull within 16-14 entering the second.

''I'm a shooter and that's why my role is for this team,'' Christon said. ''So whenever it is going down, it is a plus. I never really want to get discouraged. (Even if) the ball is not going in, I just have to keep shooting.''

Carson's 3-pointer gave New York its first lead at 19-18 with 8 minutes left in the half. Pondexter's steal and layup on San Antonio's ensuing possession extended the lead to 21-18 and prompted a timeout.

Hammon's first basket tied the game at 21 with 7 minutes left.

Powell's 3-pointer gave New York a 29-24 lead.

Christon hit consecutive 3s to pull San Antonio within 29-27 and Robinson's driving layup tied the game at 29 with 4 minutes left. New York closed the first half on an 8-1 run keyed by a pair of baskets by Plenette Pierson to take a 37-32 lead.

Robinson hit a pair of baskets as San Antonio opened the second half on a 6-2 run to pull within 39-38.

New York took its largest lead at 47-40 keyed by a pair of layups by Braxton, prompting a timeout by Hughes.

San Antonio responded with an 8-1 run to pull within 49-48 and leading to a timeout by Liberty coach John Whisenant.

Danielle Adams tied the game at 53 with a free throw to complete a three-point play after being fouled by Kia Vaughn.

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