NEW YORK, June 22 (AP) - The New York Liberty started a key stretch of their schedule with a record-setting win over the defending champions.
Tiffany Jackson scored a career-high 21 points and the Liberty set a franchise scoring mark with a 105-72 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday.
"It was one of those nights,'' Liberty coach Pat Coyle said. "We made a lot of shots and they didn't. Phoenix is really good, we just caught them in the midst of three games in five nights, traveling across country.''
The Liberty hit 11 3-pointers and shot 54 percent from the field to eclipse the mark of 95 points scored at Phoenix on June 21, 2001. New York (6-5) was sparked by the return of Loree Moore, who missed the last five games with a back injury. She had 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
"Loree was better than what I thought for her to be out three weeks and come back,'' Coyle said. "I thought her floor game was terrific tonight.''
The Liberty were 11-for-22 from behind the arc, just two short of the franchise record set against Chicago on July 25, 2006.
"We executed well and played our game and did what we wanted to,'' said Janel McCarville, who added 12 points for the Liberty.
New York will travel to Minnesota on Tuesday before hosting Indiana on Thursday. The Liberty then go on a five-game road trip out West.
Diana Taurasi scored 21 points to lead Phoenix (4-7). She was trying to become only the second player in league history to have three straight 30-point games.
"It's not about personal records. It's about helping the team win and we just didn't get it done today,'' said Taurasi, who sat out the fourth quarter of the blowout.
The Mercury, who began a five-game road trip, had scored 100 points in each of their last two games, but were held to a season low. It was their worst loss since they were beaten by 41 points by Seattle in 2002.
"We shot bad, played bad,'' Mercury coach Corey Gaines said. "It's a loss and we will see them again. Offensively we were just off.''
Jackson was 8-for-8 from the field and added seven rebounds.
"I can't remember ever having a game like that where I shot 100 percent,'' said Jackson with a smile.
Trailing 10-4 early in the first, the Liberty went on a 24-5 run to close out the quarter. New York hit five 3-pointers during the spurt, including three by Kraayeveld. The 28 points was New York's highest scoring first quarter of the season. Taurasi scored nine of the Mercury's 15 points in the period.
The Mercury cut the deficit to 35-21 early in the second quarter on Kelly Miller's layup, but New York answered with a 15-4 run over the next 6 minutes to extend the lead to 50-25 on Jackson's free throws with 1:35 left.
"They played really well and we played really bad, and that combination equals minus 33 (points),'' Taurasi said. "We just couldn't get anything going either way.''
Cappie Pondexter's 3-pointer at the buzzer had Phoenix trailing 52-30 at the half. The 52 points in the first half tied a Liberty record set in 2001 against Phoenix. The 30 points were a season low for the Mercury, who had won four of their last six games since beginning the season 0-4.
Phoenix got no closer than 20 in the third and the Liberty wouldn't let the Mercury come back. Erlana Larkins banked home a shot to put the Liberty over the 100-point mark with just over 2 minutes left.
Pondexter, who leads the league with 25.7 points per game, had an off game. She was just 4-for-16 from the field and finished with 16.
"Cappie just missed some shots tonight,'' Coyle said. "I thought Essence (Carson) did a good job on her.''