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Liberty fall to San Antonio, 65-53

Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer is joined by

Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer is joined by Katie Smith as he reacts to a foul call during the second quarter of a game against the Chicago Sky at the Prudential Center. (July 18, 2013) Credit: Jason DeCrow

SAN ANTONIO - Dan Hughes finally earned his 200th career victory in a difficult season for the San Antonio coach.

With his top two players out with season-ending knee injuries and others sidelined by various ailments, the Silver Stars have been struggling in a bid for a seventh straight postseason appearance.

On Thursday, Danielle Adams led San Antonio to its second straight win, scoring 20 points and adding eight rebounds and six assists in a 65-53 victory over the Liberty.

Hughes joins Washington Mystics coach Mike Thibault and former Houston Comets coach Van Chancellor as the only WNBA coaches with 200 wins.

"The number is one thing, but the relationships and what those people have done for you, be they assistants or players, that's life-lasting," Hughes said. "It's nice and I hope in some way the people have been a part of my past share in (it). This is a day to reflect on appreciation of them."

Cappie Pondexter had 20 points for the Liberty (7-11), which has lost four of five. It marked the second straight game San Antonio has limited an opponent to one player in double figures. Plenette Pierson and Alex Montgomery each added seven points.

Danielle Robinson had 17 points and six assists, and Jayne Appel added 13 rebounds for San Antonio (6-12). The Silver Stars improved to 4-5 at home.

They've have had a rough season without injured stars Becky Hammon and Sophia Young, who were on hand for the coaching milestone.

"I hope we can put a group of players together for a period of time where we can create an identity," Hughes said. "I think that's important for any team that has gone through as much injury as we have. It's pleasing for me to see that we put a couple of games together to end this (season's first half); now we have got to build on that."

The Liberty shot 27 percent from the field, going 16 for 60 from the field while matching their fewest points in a 74-53 loss to Indiana on July 23.

"I thought we were very sluggish mentally and physically," New York coach Bill Laimbeer said. "We came to play basketball, not to win."

Laimbeer was ejected with 38 seconds left in the first half after arguing a shot-clock violation. Laimbeer joked with officials when the shot clock failed to start twice during the opening possession, but became displeased when it failed to reset on a missed layup.

San Antonio was in the midst of a 10-3 run to close the half. Robinson and Adams combined to score all the points in that span and helped the Silver Stars to a 31-22 halftime lead.

They held a 44-37 edge in rebounding and limited New York to 13 second-chance points.

"That's been our main focus ... to play aggressive on defense and rebounding," Adams said. "We've been doing so good the last couple of games, so coach wanted to emphasize that even more knowing (the Liberty) are physical, bigger and stronger. We just have to use all our power to box out and rebound."

The season-high crowd of 12,086 was boosted by youngsters attending Camp Day.

New York Sports