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Inside game falters as Liberty falls to San Antonio

New York Liberty (23) Cappie Pondexter has the

New York Liberty (23) Cappie Pondexter has the ball stripped away by San Antonio Silver Stars (7) Jia Perkins. (July 8, 2012) Credit: Jason Decrow

NEWARK -- Dealing with injuries to two inside players, the Liberty was forced to resort to a smaller outside-shooting lineup Sunday.

Essence Carson scored 25 points, Cappie Pondexter 23 and the Liberty made a season-high 13 three-pointers, but San Antonio finished the game on a 16-4 run and earned a 94-81 victory before 7,714 at Prudential Center.

"I feel like we didn't have a good outing defensively," Liberty coach John Whisenant said. "We never got control of this one."

The Liberty (6-10), which was without Kia Vaughn (concussion) and Plenette Pierson (left knee), was 13-for-20 from three-point range, including 6-for-6 in the first quarter, but only 17-for-45 on two-pointers.

Jia Perkins scored a season-high 24 points, former Liberty guard Becky Hammon had 23 and Sophia Young 21 for the Silver Stars. Hammon scored 12 points in a 24-12 second quarter for the Silver Stars, who extended their winning streak to seven.

Carson scored 12 points in the third quarter to help the Liberty overcome a 51-42 halftime deficit and tie the score at 64 with 3:48 to go in the quarter.

Pondexter and Carson scored on back-to-back possessions to cut the Liberty's deficit to 78-77, but Leilani Mitchell (12 points) missed a wide-open three-pointer with the chance to put the Liberty ahead for the first time in more than 18 minutes. San Antonio (11-5) then pulled away.

"I was just thinking shoot it when I'm open," Mitchell said. "In the fourth quarter, we went cold. We didn't score for [3:13]. We tried different looks . . . Nothing was falling. I think that's kind of where they got away from us."

Pondexter missed her final four shots of the fourth quarter, including a running layup with six minutes left that could have made it a two-point game.

"That's when we got to kind of go with that momentum," said Pondexter, who had eight rebounds but committed six of the team's 21 turnovers. "Those are the type of things that we got to capitalize on when we have that momentum, which we didn't and kind of stuck us in the back."

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