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Liberty defeats Chicago for back-to-back victories

Liberty's Tina Charles gets the basket against the

Liberty's Tina Charles gets the basket against the Sky at the Westchester County Center on Sunday. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The Liberty arrived at West chester County Center on Sunday in search of its first winning streak since June 2.

The team made it two straight for the second time by turning in its finest work to date, tying the franchise mark for points in beating the Chicago Sky, 107-84.

The Liberty is 7-14 with 13 games remaining. The top eight teams get to pose in the WNBA’s playoff picture. The Liberty passed the Sky (7-15) for 10th place and will try to make it three straight Tuesday at Dallas.

“I think it was just a sense of urgency,” Tina Charles said after leading the Liberty with 21 points. “Every game has to be treated as a playoff game . . . if we want to get back up in the top eight.”

The Liberty matched the franchise record for points in a game set in 2010 against Phoenix, crossed the 100-point mark for the first time since last season, shot a season-high 61.2 percent and matched its season high of 12 steals.

“I think we have been more consistent with our effort for the 40 minutes during this stretch,” coach Katie Smith said.

Smith made a lineup change after speaking with starting point guard Bria Hartley about playing both guard spots off the bench. Brittany Boyd opened at the point for the first time this season and contributed her first career double-double with 14 points and 10 assists. She also made four steals.

Hartley also excelled. The North Babylon native had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists.

“Whatever you want me to play, I’ll do it,” Hartley said.

“That’s something that all of us in this locker room can learn from,” Charles said.

After Sugar Rodgers scored 10 of her 14 points in the second quarter, the Liberty took a 53-47 lead into the third and proceeded to put some brilliant basketball on display, outscoring the Sky 26-8 to take a 79-55 lead into the fourth. The Liberty shot 60.0 percent and held Chicago to 18.8 percent across those 10 minutes.

“They came out in that third quarter and made a run that we couldn’t compete with,” said Courtney Vandersloot, who topped the Sky with 15 points.

The cushion swelled to 27 points in the fourth.

“We’ve kind of got our backs to the wall, but we’re not panicking,” Boyd said. “We know what we’ve got to do.”

New York Sports