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Charles leads Liberty to sixth straight win, 80-79 over Sky

By DOUG FEINBERG

NEW YORK (AP) Not even a broken nose could slow down Tina Charles.

She had 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead New York to an 80-79 victory over the Chicago Sky on Friday night for the Liberty's sixth consecutive win - their longest streak in six years.

''I do what my teammates need me to do,'' Charles said. ''I know how much my team relies on me especially not having (Epiphanny Prince) here.''

Charles was sporting a clear mask after she broke her nose Wednesday in a double-overtime win over Atlanta.

''It was the first time in my life that I had to wear a mask,'' the reigning AP player of the week said. ''The situation is what it is. It's a contact sport and injuries do happen. I'm just happy that the Hosptial for Special Surgery and our medical staff was able to give me the mask so I could play tonight.''

Charles leads the league in scoring and rebounding and had 12 points in the first half to help New York build a 50-40 halftime advantage.

Sugar Rodgers added 13 points for the Liberty (10-4), who are third in the AP power poll. It's the first time since 2001 that New York has won 10 of its first 14 games.

The Liberty led by 11 midway through the fourth before the Sky rallied to 78-77 with 2:24 left. Neither team would score again until Sugar Rodgers hit an acrobatic backdoor floater with 39.5 seconds remaining. Elena Delle Donne answered with a tough pullup nine seconds later.

Chicago let New York run down the clock on its next possession before Charles missed a hook across the lane. Delle Donne got the rebound setting up one final chance for the Sky with just over 2 seconds left, but her jumper from the wing missed.

''Couple things went wrong and we didn't run it to the way we were supposed to,'' Delle Donne said of the last play. ''Things got a little crazy and had to throw up a desperation shot. We wanted more of a post up and that just didn't happen.''

She finished with a season-high 31 points to lead Chicago (6-8). Cappie Pondexter added 20 for the seventh-ranked Sky, who have dropped four of five.

Both teams wore warm-up shirts in honor of Orlando club shooting victims. The Liberty donated $10,000 to the OneOrlando fund that was set up to support the victims' families and survivors.

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