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Sun Defeat Liberty in New York

NEW YORK, July 29, 2007 (AP) -- Katie Douglas shouted at her Connecticut teammates in the huddle after the third quarter, with the Sun trailing the New York Liberty by three points.

Douglas hit a key running bank shot with 1:25 left and finished with 26 points to rally the Sun to a 67-61 win Sunday, extending the Liberty's losing streak to six games.

"I was just trying to get everybody's head in the right place,'' Douglas said. "I felt like the first, second and third quarter we were playing extremely lackadaisical, not characteristic of the Connecticut Sun of late.''

Asjha Jones added 12 points for the Sun (14-12), who have won eight of their last nine, including a 79-75 victory against the Liberty on Thursday.

Janel McCarville scored 18 points, and Shameka Christon and Tiffany Jackson added 10 points each for New York (10-14), which has lost its last six games by an average of 4.5 points.

"We're losing a lot of close games because we're young,'' New York coach Pat Coyle said. "We have to play better down the stretch, that's just the bottom line.''

A layup by McCarville, who scored the Liberty's last eight points, pulled her team to 65-61 with 22 seconds left. But Douglas made two free throws and then stole the ball from Christon on the final possession.

"I got a litte bit of rest in the fourth quarter and saw things were starting to unravel,'' Douglas said. "I wanted to be a spark and leader and get some stops on the defensive end.''

Douglas made a layup and free throw on a foul by McCarville to quiet the crowd and give the Sun a 57-55 lead with 3:52 left.

A 3-pointer by Evanthia Maltsi pushed the lead to five. After Douglas' bank shot, Maltsi made a free throw for a 65-59 lead with 43 seconds left.

New York shot 37 percent from the field, including only 5-for-17 in the fourth quarter. The Liberty finished 3-for-18 from 3-point range in a game where neither team lead by more than six points.

With 10 games left in the season, the fifth-place Liberty are vying for a playoff spot with Chicago and Washington.

"There were a lot of nerves during crunch time and knowing we are fighting for a playoff spot gets in our head,'' Jackson said.

Lindsay Whalen added nine points for the Sun, and Nykesha Sales returned to the lineup and scored four in 12 minutes after sitting out three games with a mild concussion.

"I've got to kind of get my wind back and make sure I'm OK before I play significant minutes,'' Sales said. "But I felt good.''

The Liberty opened a five-point lead midway through the third quarter before consecutive reverse layups by Sales and Jones brought the Sun to 43-42.

A pass from Loree Moore to McCarville, who drove past Whalen, extended the Liberty's lead to 48-45 at the end of the quarter.

"She's just so mobile for a player her size,'' Whalen said of McCarville, her former University of Minnesota teammate.

McCarville had a career-high 24 points against the Sun on Thursday, and is seeing more playing time with the Liberty after averaging 4.5 points for Charlotte last season.

"She's definitely found her niche, she's come here and gotten a new breath of fresh air,'' Whalen said. "She's playing really hard and really well for them.''

Douglas, who had 16 first-half points, converted a three-point play to bring the Sun to 30-28 in the second quarter. Jessica Davenport's hook shot gave New York a 36-33 lead at halftime.

Coach Mike Thibault wasn't pleased with his team's 20 turnovers, but the Liberty kept up with 19 of their own.

"The turnover bug came back,'' Thibault said. "We made a lot of mistakes, but still found a way to get a win on the road. We will take it any day.''

Sales entered the game early in the second quarter and scored on a layup after Whalen stole the ball and tossed it three-quarters the length of the floor to her to pull to 21-17 with 7:29 left.