Kraayeveld, Christon Help Liberty Edge Lynx

Liberty 77, Lynx 76 (F)
Cathrine Kraayeveld and Shameka Christon scored 13 points each to help the Liberty hold off the Lynx 77-76 on Saturday night.

New York 77, Minnesota 76

NEW YORK, June 14 (AP) -- The New York Liberty didn't panic after seeing their 16-point lead dwindle to one, and then turning the ball over with less than 11 seconds left. They just focused on making a strong defensive stand and came away with a victory.

Cathrine Kraayeveld and Shameka Christon scored 13 points each to help the Liberty hold off the Minnesota Lynx 77-76 on Saturday night.

"We expected them to make a run, and they made it late in the fourth quarter,'' Christon said. "But I think we were very poised. ... We were very focused on getting the job done. ... We were going to make them beat us by taking a tough shot.''

After Anna DeForge's fastbreak layup pulled the Lynx within one with 18.4 seconds left, the Liberty were whistled for an 8-second violation for failing to get the ball past midcourt.

DeForge inbounded the ball to Candice Wiggins, who went to the right, pump faked as she was being guarded by the Liberty's Essence Carson and put up a tough shot that bounced off the rim. The ball was knocked away and then grabbed by Kraayeveld as time ran out.

"I was looking to turn the corner,'' said Wiggins, who had 18 of her season-high 26 points in the second half. "They did a good job, they switched ahead of time. I got a good look. I just didn't knock it down.''

Janel McCarville had 12 points and Tiffany Jackson added 11 to help New York (5-4) get its fourth win in five games to move above .500 for the first time this season. Kraayeveld, McCarville and Jackson also had seven rebounds each.

"Our scheme at the end of the game was to switch everything,'' Christon said. "Essence Carson was the one who ended up on (Wiggins) and she did a great job of making her take a tough shot.''

Wiggins, the rookie from Stanford selected by Minnesota with the third overall pick in April's draft, shot 8-for-13 from the field and 8-for-9 on free throws. Seimone Augustus had 16 points and DeForge added 14 for the Lynx (6-4), who have lost four of five since a 5-0 start. Minnesota has also lost six straight against the Liberty.

"We've got a group of fighters,'' Lynx coach Don Zierdon said. "They fought the whole way through the game. ... We have lost two games by one point and one game by four points. For a young team, I am proud of the way we fought.''

The Liberty shot 48 percent from the field (29-for-60), including 8-for-16 on 3-pointers.

Minnesota was 44 percent from the floor (28-for-64) and just 6-for-14 on 3s. The Lynx were outrebounded 33-25 and finished with just seven assists.

"We did a great job all game of playing our game,'' Kraayeveld said. "We focused on what we needed to do - play well defensively and offensively. It was just a great team effort.''

New York scored 11 consecutive points bridging halftime to take a 48-38 lead on Carson's jumper with 7:47 left in the third quarter. After Wiggins made a running hook shot 26 seconds later to end Minnesota's drought, Leilani Mitchell had a layup and McCarville hit two free throws to stretch the Liberty's lead to 12.

Wiggins' 3 pulled the Lynx to 55-47, but Jackson and McCarville had two baskets each in an 8-0 run to double New York's lead to 16 with 27 seconds left in the quarter.

However, the Lynx scored nine straight points, started and finished by baskets from Augustus, to cut the deficit to 71-68 with 3 1/2 minutes to go.

McCarville had a jumper and Christon a reverse layup to stretch the lead to seven with 2:19 to go. Minnesota then closed the game with an 8-2 run.

The Liberty got off to a strong start, taking a 27-18 lead after a first quarter in which they shot 63 percent (10-for-16).

The Lynx opened the second quarter on a 13-5 run and pulled within a point on Wiggins' two free throws with 4:36 left in the half. DeForge hit a 3 almost 1 1/2 minutes later to give Minnesota a 36-34 lead, the Lynx's first advantage since they were up 8-7.

Lisa Willis hit two free throws and Carson had a fastbreak layup in the final 36 seconds to give the Liberty a 41-38 lead at the break.

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