Liberty Defeat Fever to Remain Unbeaten
By VIN A. CHERWOO, AP Sports Writer

New York 78, Indiana 67

NEW YORK, June 5 (AP) -- The new-look New York Liberty used a balanced offense to pass their first tough test of the season.

Loree Moore, Ashley Battle and Cathrine Kraayeveld each scored 15 points to lead the surprising Liberty to a 78-67 victory over the Indiana Fever on Tuesday night.

Jessica Davenportadded 12 points and Erin Thorn had 10 to help New York (5-0) extend the franchise's best start since opening 7-0 in the league's inaugural 1997 season.

"We've been playing really well together as a team,'' Kraayeveld said. "When we buckle down and play great defensively as a team, it seems to fuel our offense and gets us a couple of easy baskets in transition.

"The big point about our team is anybody can step on this floor. There's no real pressure on any one person.''

Tamika Catchings had 21 points and Anna DeForge scored 12 for Indiana (4-1), which had opened with four wins for the second straight year.

"At times we go through little lapses where we play really well and then we don't play so well,'' Catchings said. "Not even mediocre. We go from good to bad and back to good. ... Anytime you play a team and they shoot that high a percentage, it's very unlikely you're going to win.''

The Liberty, a franchise-worst 11-23 last season, won the first matchup in WNBA history between undefeated teams with at least three wins. New York will have a chance to do it again Friday night when it hosts the defending champion Detroit Shock (4-0).

"We can't really worry about other teams we're facing,'' Moore said. "We just worry about ourselves and things we need to work on, how we can get better, and just go from there.''

The Liberty shot a season-high 62 percent from the field and held Indiana to 42 percent. New York was outrebounded 30-24 and finished with just one offensive board.

"One of the team goals is to push the ball, push the ball, which creates openings that we can take advantage of with good scoring opportunities,'' Battle said. "We practice a lot of shooting drills, so it is expected that we will shoot a high percentage.''

After trailing by 13 points early in the third quarter, the Fever closed to 55-53 on Ebony Hoffman's layup with 37 seconds left in the period. The Fever nearly took the lead at the end of the third quarter, but Tully Bevilaqua's 3-pointer at the buzzer was disallowed after a video review.

"If we take the lead there, anything can happen,'' Indiana coach Brian Winters said. "It was the right call. I felt when she shot it, it probably wasn't good. We have to do a better job of not falling behind, and doing a better job of shooting the ball and executing our offense.''

Kraayeveld had seven points in New York's 18-6 run to open the fourth quarter and Indiana didn't get closer than 10 the rest of the way.

"We came into the fourth quarter and we didn't come out with the focus we should've come out with after having gotten that close to having the lead,'' Catchings said. "They came out, they scored and the rest is history.''

Moore's driving layup with 4:25 left stretched the Liberty's lead to 73-59, matching their largest in a game this season.

"We had a lapse in the third quarter, which allowed them to score too many points,'' Thorn said. "We really locked down in the fourth quarter, and that is how we were able to go on a run and finish strong.''

Battle's 3 with 5:43 left in the second quarter gave the Liberty their first lead, 21-19, and they didn't trail again. Davenport's layup in the opening minute of the third quarter gave New York a 13-point lead.

Both teams struggled with their shooting early. Indiana was 6-for-16 in the first quarter and New York was 3-for-9. However, the Liberty were 12-for-15 in the second quarter while taking a 37-26 halftime lead.

Liberty 78, Fever 67
Three players scored 15 points for the Liberty, who improved to 5-0 on the season.-