Libs Fall to the Sun, Decisive Game 3 Set for Monday

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Post-game Notes and quotes
Liberty - Sun Series Recap

Down 15 points to the Connecticut Sun heading into the fourth quarter, the New York Liberty pieced together a furious comeback spearheaded by their three-point attack, only to fall just short when Janel McCarville missed a potential game-tying three-pointer from the corner at the buzzer.

The Sun's narrow 73-70 win pushed the series to a decisive Game 3 at Mohegan Sun on Monday night, where they Liberty will face their second straight win-or-go-home scenario in the last two years after winning the first game of the Conference Semifinals.

Despite the loss, the Liberty were confident they can win the series and advance to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2004.

"We just had to gain our composure," said Erin Thorn. "We needed to settle down and run our offense. (When we did) we got good looks and started knocking them down... Hopefully we don't have to get down like that. We learned we can fight back. If we keep our composure we'll be OK. If we take care of us, we'll be OK."

New York's big comeback was led by Cathrine Kraayeveld, who after being held scoreless for the first three quarters connected on a trio of three-pointers to give her team life. Remarkably, after McCarville connected on a lay-up just over 1:30 into the fourth, every remaining Liberty field goal was a three-pointer, as Loree Moore drained a pair and Shameka Christon connected on one.

However, after Moore connected on a 21-footer with 1:20 remaining to bring the Liberty within one at 71-70, New York couldn't convert on its remaining three possessions with changes to either tie or take the lead. Tamika Whitmore hit two of four free throw attempts in the final minute, forcing the Liberty to go the length of the court with 10 seconds remaining to settle for a contested three from McCarville.

In fact, free-throw shooting was a controversial story line in the contest, as New York went to the line just five times compared to Connecticut's 26 attempts. As a direct result, the Sun outscored the Liberty 20-3 from the charity stripe, a differential that is the primary reason this series will see a Game 3.

Officiating was clearly on New York's mind, as Christon and McCarville each picked up a technical foul in the second quarter. Christon's seemed to spark her club to a 7-0 run, which was the team's first extensive offensive run, coming with the club already down by 12 at 32-20.

Looking for a spark, Connecticut received one when rookie Amber Holt, who had started every game this season, was replaced by Svetlana Abrosimova -- playing in just her eighth game of the season after signing with the Sun following the Olympic break. Sun head coach Mike Thibault's decision paid off, as Abrosimova scored seven of her 12 points in the opening quarter to help the Sun connect on their first six shots to run out to a 25-15 lead after one.

The Sun also received big-time performances from their top two players, Asjha Jones and MVP candidate Lindsay Whalen. Jones tied for a game-high with 16 points, while Whalen scored 15 along with five boards and for assists.

The Liberty were led by the superlative play of their resurgent point guard Moore. The savvy veteran connected for a game-high 16 points, including shooting 4-for-7 from behind the arc. Moore also chipped in five assists, three boards and two steals.

Christon and McCarville, the two most prolific New York scorers, each finished with 11 points. Christon chipped in two boards as well, while McCarville, struggling in foul trouble throughout the night, added five rebounds two steals and a blocked shot.

Meanwhile, even though she struggled in shooting the ball until the final quarter when she scored nine points, Kraayeveld contributed in other ways and finished the game with five boards, five assists two blocks and one steal.

Off the bench, it was Thorn's turn to shine. The fifth-year guard scored eight points off the pine, along with three assists one board and one steal.

Be sure to tune in and support the Liberty as the fight to reach the Conference Finals in the decisive game three Monday night at 7:00pm on ESPN2.