NEW YORK (AP) — Sugar Rodgers scored a career-high 15 points, including seven in the final 3 minutes, to lead the New York Liberty to a 70-64 victory over the Seattle Storm on Tuesday night.
The Liberty trailed 62-54 with 2:55 left and had scored just one basket over the previous 13 minutes when Rodgers came to life. Her 3-pointer made it a five-point game. After Sue Bird answered with a jumper, New York scored the final 11 points of the game, including five by Rodgers. Her 3-pointer with 1:06 left tied it at 64.
Cappie Pondexter then hit a jumper with 24.9 seconds left to give New York a lead. After Bird missed a pullup on the other end, Plenette Pierson hit two free throws to secure the win for New York (2-2).
Bird led Seattle (1-4) with 21 points, including 17 in the first half. Crystal Langhorne added 13 points and 15 rebounds.
The teams traded baskets early in the third quarter. Shekinna Stricklen's 3-pointer with 5:58 left gave Seattle a 45-44 lead. Essence Carson answered with a 3 to put New York back on top. Those would be the last points of the quarter for the Liberty. Seattle couldn't really take advantage of New York's scoring drought. They couldn't manage a basket either after Stricklen's 3-pointer, but converted five free throws to take a 52-47 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Tina Charles finally ended New York's drought hitting a layup early in the fourth. That would be the Liberty's only basket of the quarter until Rodgers got going as Seattle was able to build its lead to 62-54.
Seattle was able to stay in the first half because of Bird. She scored 17 points as the Storm closed the first half on a 17-5 run after trailing by nine points. The All-Star guard had seven points and an assist during the spurt. Her pullup with 2.9 seconds left made it 35-32.
Seattle is nearing the end of a five-game eastern swing that will conclude Friday in Atlanta. The Storm play 10 of their first 13 games on the road — the most ever to start a season according to STATS.
The Storm were without guard Jenna O'Hea, who is sidelined 4 to 6 weeks with a broken left pinky toe.
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