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Liberty Stops Storm 74-63

July 3, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Tari Phillips scored 19 points as the New York Liberty beat the Seattle Storm 74-63 Tuesday night, snapping a two-game losing streak.

Tamika Whitmore, who made all six of her field-goal attempts, had 15 points for the Liberty (9-8). Vickie Johnson added 14, and Crystal Robinson had 13 as New York won for just the second time in seven games.

Rookie Sue Bird, a New York native making her first Madison Square Garden appearance, had 12 points and six assists. Bird, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s WNBA draft, played high school basketball at Christ the King and was the 1997-98 New York City and New York State player of the year.

Lauren Jackson had 17 points for the Storm (7-8), who had won three of four. Kamila Vodichkova had 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds for Seattle, which led 33-31 at halftime. The Storm is 0-4 against the Liberty in their three WNBA seasons, and has been outscored by 65 overall points.

Phillips scored nine points as New York opened the second half on a 13-4 run to take a 44-37 lead at 16:08.

Bird answered with a 3-pointer and a jumper to bring Seattle within 47-44 at 12:45, but Robinson’s 3-pointer led a 7-2 spurt that gave the Liberty a 54-46 advantage.

Two free throws by Bird brought the Storm within 56-51 at 6:40, but Seattle couldn’t get any closer.

Johnson, Whitmore and Becky Hammon each scored twice in a 12-4 run that make it 68-55 with 3:01 left.

The Liberty shot 53.1 percent (26-for-49). New York made 51 percent of its shots in a 78-61 victory at Seattle on May 30.

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