Liberty Beat the Storm

Second-year guard Sugar Rodgers scored eight in the fourth quarter and Cappie Pondexter drained a baseline jumper to give New York the lead with 24.9 seconds to play, pushing the Liberty (2-2) past the Storm (1-4) 70-64. It was the team’s first win at Madison Square Garden since September 10, 2010.

Rodgers made her presence felt early in the game, providing the offensive impetus for the Liberty while usual top guns Tina Charles and Pondexter went to work rebounding and distributing. Rodgers and forward Plenette Pierson each scored seven points in the first half alone—a season-high for both players—which allowed New York to open a nine-point lead in the second quarter.

Sue Bird paced the Storm in the first 20 minutes of action as she ignited the Seattle offense after the team misfired on its first six field goals, scoring 17 points in the first half.

Despite a cold streak in the third quarter and a combined 8-for-30 performance from the field by the Liberty’s top three scorers—Pondexter, Charles and guard Essence Carson—through three quarters of play, the deficit was just five points entering the final quarter of play. After watching the Storm lead balloon to eight in the fourth, Rodgers rose to the occasion once again, canning two timely triples to knot the game up with just more than a minute left to play. With Bird unable to come through in crunch-time, Pondexter’s shot put New York in front for good, as the Liberty was able to close the game out with a pair of free throws and with stifling pressure on the Storm’s final possession.
br> Rodgers scored a career-high 15 points and Tina Charles added 15 points to go with 14 rebounds. The Storm was led by Bird’s 21 points and center Crystal Langhorne’s 13 points and 15 rebounds.

The Liberty plays its next game this Friday when the team travels to Washington to face the Mystics.