NEWARK -- The Liberty seemed to still be asleep at the start of 11 a.m. tip-off against the Indiana Fever on Wednesday, but the alarm clock went off at the beginning of the second quarter and the Liberty awoke just in time.
Energized by a crowd that was nearly all schoolchildren, the Liberty overcame a lackluster start and then a seven-point fourth quarter deficit to eke out its second consecutive overtime victory, 75-68. Alex Montgomery blocked the potential winning layup as the buzzer sounded in regulation with the score tied at 61. She scored six points in the extra session, finishing with 13 points and seven rebounds.
"I thanked Alex in the locker room," Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer said. "By far, it was the best I've seen her play. Her energy level was just what we needed. She played strong, she played physical, she played to her strengths and it was great boost for us."
The Liberty (2-1) came out sluggish in the first quarter, connected on just four of their first 14 field-goal attempts. They committed five turnovers and fell behind by 14 points at the end of the first quarter.
Decimated by injuries, the Fever (1-2) had only eight healthy players. But for the first 10 minutes, it appeared as if they would only need two. Fever forward Tamika Catchings and guard Shavonte Zellous combined to score all of the Fever's 22 first-quarter points.
"In the first quarter we had a problem getting into our sets," guard Essence Carson said. "We had a lot of turnovers and we were out of sync."
But the Liberty quickly adjusted, limiting the duo to 14 points on 5-for-18 shooting the rest of the game.
Catchings finished with 19 points to lead the Fever and Zellous had 15.
Carson led the Liberty with 19 points and Cappie Pondexter added 17. Pondexter knocked down two big three-pointers in the fourth quarter, the latter coming with less than two minutes remaining to put the Liberty ahead at 60-59. It was its first lead since the opening minutes. She scored four points in overtime as the Liberty outscored the Fever 14-7.
"Our aggressiveness defensively made their legs tired, especially in the overtime where we were able to take advantage," Pondexter said.