It's a partnership that's growing stronger by the game. Tina Charles and Cappie Pondexter don't have to say much anymore to know where the other is going to be on the court. No longer are they new teammates looking to figure each other out. At this point, it's way past that.

"We're locked in," Pondexter said. "You can see it in our eyes when we come out of the locker room."

And that could be a dangerous thing for the rest of the league. The Liberty (7-11) beat the Minnesota Lynx, 87-80, yesterday at Madison Square Garden, earning its third consecutive victory and fourth in the last five games.

Charles led all scorers with a career-high 32 points. The former WNBA MVP added 10 rebounds. Pondexter had 18 points and 11 rebounds.

"When [Charles] dominates like that in the paint, they have to pay attention to her," Pondexter said. "When they pay attention to her, I'm able to go in and make things happen inside for myself and others.''

Anna Cruz and Plenette Pierson had 10 points each. A jumper by Cruz broke a tie at 76 with 4:39 remaining.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Maya Moore led the Lynx (13-6) with 25 points.

As balanced as the boxscore may have been for the Liberty, the driving force behind the victory was the two stars. With 15 seconds remaining, Charles grabbed a defensive rebound, effectively icing any chance of a last-minute Lynx comeback.

And whom did she hand it to? Pondexter, who proceeded to hit a free throw. Perfect.