Mercury 69, Liberty 50
PHOENIX (AP) _ Rebecca Lobo’s personal winning streak ended at 102 games Monday night as the Phoenix Mercury routed the New York Liberty 69-50 in the Women’s National Basketball Association.
Lobo, who last played on a losing team when North Carolina upset Connecticut in an NCAA regional final on March 26, 1994, led the Huskies to a 35-0 mark in 1994-95, was 52-0 with the U.S. national team, 8-0 in the Olympics, and helped the Liberty open the season 7-0.
Bridget Pettis scored 20 of her 25 points in the second half for the Mercury (4-2) before a crowd of 13,731 at the America West Arena.
Jennifer Gillom had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Toni Foster had nine points and 12 rebounds for Phoenix, which outrebounded New York 47-34. Michele Timms had 11 points and nine assists.
Vickie Johnson led the Liberty, the WNBA’s last undefeated team, with 11 points, while Lobo had eight.
The Mercury never trailed and twice had 15-point leads in the first half. But they led just 24-23 at halftime, and Lobo cut New York’s deficit to 31-29 with 16:46 left in the game.
Then Gillom and Timms each made a layup and a jumper during an 11-0 surge in the next 2 1/2 minutes, and the Mercury were on their way to the upset.
Pettis started a 22-11 run in the final five minutes with two baskets and two free throws.
The Liberty had a 16-2 run in the final 8 1/2 minutes of the first half to get within one point.
Gillom had six points and Pettis five as the Mercury jumped to a 17-2 lead in the first 6:36.
After New York’s Trena Trice made three free throws in 27 seconds and Johnson hit a baseline jumper, the Mercury accelerated on a steal by Timms, who passed to Gillom for a layup, then made a jumper for a 22-7 lead with 8:46 left in the half.
But that was the Mercury’s last field goal, and Kym Hampton and Sophia Witherspoon had five points each as the Liberty battled back.