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Davenports Three-Point Play Lifts Liberty

New York 83, Phoenix 82

NEW YORK, June 3 (AP) -- Jessica Davenport showed why the New York Liberty traded for her during the WNBA draft.

The rookie center converted a three-point play with 6.9 seconds left to help the Liberty remain unbeaten with an 83-82 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday.

"I noticed I had Cappie (Pondexter) on me,'' Davenport said. "There's a big height difference and I was able shoot over her.''

Pondexter made a tiebreaking layup for Phoenix with 10.3 seconds left. New York called a timeout and got the ball to Davenport down low on the next possession. She turned around and shot over Pondexter to tie the score, and then made the ensuing free throw.

"I didn't know what to do with myself. I kind of stood there for a second and everybody started jumping around,'' the 6-5 Davenport said of the tying basket. "We've been working on free throws a lot lately. This feels good to go out there and knock it down for the game-winner.''

Loree Moore had a career-high 22 points and Davenport added 15 for the Liberty (4-0), off to their best start since opening the WNBA's inaugural 1997 season 7-0. Erin Thorn scored 11 points, and Cathrine Kraayeveld had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Pondexter, who had 20 points, missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds and Ashley Battle grabbed the long rebound for New York and held on as time expired.

Diana Taurasi had 16 points, and Penny Taylor added 15 for Phoenix (4-3), which lost for the second straight day.

"You can't dwell on a loss,'' Taurasi said. "We have tremendous confidence in whoever has the ball at the end of the game. It ended up in Cappie's hands and she took a good shot. It just didn't go in.''

Moore, averaging 8.3 points coming in, shot 7-for-11 from the field, including 4-for-6 on 3s, and tied a career high with nine rebounds.

"This is the best she's played since she's been here,'' New York coach Pat Coyle said. "I left her alone tonight. If she needed a call, she looked at me. Otherwise, she made the call. I have that much confidence in her to run this team.''

New York, which won seven of its last 10 games last season to finish a franchise-worst 13-21, acquired Davenport from San Antonio in exchange for three-time All-Star Becky Hammon shortly after the Silver Stars selected the Ohio State star with the second overall pick.

"When we came in for training camp, everybody was in great shape and we meshed together really fast,'' Kraayeveld said. "I think that's showing on the court.''

The Liberty trailed by five midway through the fourth quarter when Thorn and Shameka Christon hit consecutive 3-pointers to take a 74-73 lead with 4:22 to go.

Pondexter hit a 3 to put Phoenix ahead 80-78 with 1:40 left, and Kraayeveld's layup 26 seconds later tied the score.

The Liberty fell behind 11-0 and didn't score until Moore's 3 with 6:37 left in the opening quarter.

"We did a good job of staying with it and not getting down,'' Kraayeveld said. "Just keep working hard and fight back.''

New York, which trailed by 12 early in the second quarter, went on a 13-3 run spanning halftime and tied the game at 56 on Moore's fast-break layup with 8:45 left in the third.

The Liberty won at Minnesota on Friday to begin a stretch of four games in eight days. They play Indiana on Tuesday night and Detroit on Friday night, both at home.

Phoenix, which lost 76-67 at Connecticut on Saturday, was playing on the road for the third time in four nights.