New York Liberty #23 Cappie Pondexter celebrates after scoring against...

New York Liberty #23 Cappie Pondexter celebrates after scoring against the Atlanta Dream. (June 11, 2010) Credit: JASON DECROW

It's taken eight games and a few false starts, but the Liberty is getting close to playing the kind of basketball that fans had envisioned when general manager Carol Blazejowski blew up and rebuilt the team this offseason.

Led by guard Cappie Pondexter's 25 points, the Liberty defeated the Atlanta Dream, 91-79, on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. The Liberty (4-4) has won two in a row. It was the third straight loss for Atlanta (7-3).

"I really feel good about this team," coach Anne Donovan said after the game. "We still have some chemistry to learn to make our offense better, but with every game, I'm seeing more and more from this team."

The lineup features four new starters, including three players in their first year with the Liberty. Leading the list of impressive newcomers is Pondexter, who has been the team's leading scorer seven times this season. She had a 31-point performance in a win over Chicago on Tuesday.

Pondexter helped spark the Liberty in the fourth quarter after Atlanta went on a 12-2 run to pull within two. Pondexter got the ball to Nicole Powell, who hit a three-pointer that snapped the Liberty out of its offensive funk.

"Cappie for sure is our motor," Donovan said. "She's the engine who makes us go. That's why she was such an important acquisition for us."

Atlanta was led by center Erika DeSouza's 21 points. The Liberty was outscored 50-18 in the paint, however.

"I think we're starting to show some chemistry," Pondexter said, "and it feels good to win two in a row. But I also think the team needs to stay focused and build off of this, too."

Janel McCarville, who suffered a bruised knee in the second quarter, looked a little tentative in the second half. She is expected to be available for Saturday night's game in Washington.


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