Storm can’t connect late, lose 58-56 to N.Y.

  • By Vin A. Cherwoo Associated Press
  • Tuesday, August 9, 2011 12:01am
  • Sports

NEWARK, N.J. — Cappie Pondexter scored 19 points, including the go-ahead layup with 41 seconds remaining, to lift the New York Liberty to a 58-56 victory over the Seattle Storm on Tuesday night.

Plenette Pierson had nine points and eight rebounds to help New York (13-9) win for the third time in four games. The Liberty shot 39 percent from the field, including 4-for-12 on 3-pointers.

Sue Bird scored 17 points and Tanisha Wright and Katie Smith had 11 apiece for Seattle (12-10), which had won five of their previous seven. The Storm shot just 31 percent from the field (21-for-68), including 8-for-21 on 3s.

After Pondexter put the Liberty ahead by a point, Bird missed a 3-pointer from the right corner with 20 seconds to go and a short jumper inside the free throw line with about 10 seconds remaining. The ball was knocked out of bounds by New York and Seattle’s Swin Cash missed a layup after the ensuing inbounds play.

Pierson made one of two free thows with 3 seconds to go, and Essence Carson blocked Bird’s final attempt inside the paint.

Wright made a technical free throw to start an 8-1 run that gave the Storm a 56-55 lead with 1:37 remaining. Smith’s 3 — her third of the game and Seattle’s eighth — pulled the Storm within one and Robinson’s layup put them ahead.

Pondexter started a 6-0 run by making one of two from the line — New York’s first attempts of the second half — with 6:42 to play in regulation. Quanitra Hollingsworth made a hook shot, Essence Carson had a layup and Hollingsworth made a free throw with 4½ minutes to go for a 54-48 lead.

The Storm scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to take a 46-44 lead on Wright’s jumper with 8½ minutes left in the game. It was Seattle’s first advantage since 7-4.

Pondexter and Montgomery made back-to-back jumpers to put New York back ahead a little more than a minute later. Le’coe Willingham’s layup tied the score again with 6:52 remaining.

Former Liberty star Rebecca Lobo was inducted into the team’s “Ring of Honor” during a halftime ceremony. Lobo, currently an analyst for ESPN, was one of the first players — along with Teresa Weatherspoon — assigned to the franchise and averaged 9.5 points and 5.7 rebounds in 75 games over four seasons with New York.

Lobo, selected in fan balloting, is the fourth player inducted into the Ring, joining former teammates Vickie Johnson, Weatherspoon and Sue Wicks, who were honored earlier this summer. Johnson, Weatherspoon, Wicks and Kym Hampton — who will be inducted on Aug. 30 — were selected by a special committee.

After trailing by eight points late in the first half, Bird’s jumper pulled the Storm to 32-31 in the opening minute of the third quarter. Pierson and Nicole Powell followed with jumpers to put the Liberty back up five with under 8 minutes remaining in the period.

Le’Coe Willingham made one of two from the line with 4:42 to go in the third — Seattle’s first free-throw attempts of the game — and Smith hit a 3 nearly a minute later to tie the score at 38-all.

Carson had a jumper and newcomer Kara Braxton made a layup to give New York a four-point lead again with 1:10 remaining in the third.

Pondexter hit consecutive jumpers and Kia Vaughn made one of two from the line to give the Liberty an eight point lead with under 3 minutes to go in the first half. But Wright made a jumper and Bird’s fourth 3 pulled the Storm to 32-29 at the break.

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