The first three-pointer the Liberty attempted Tuesday night came on Alex Montgomery's pull-up from the corner, and it came with 35 seconds left in the first half.
It seemed for a while as if the Liberty, chided by their coach after a blowout loss in which they were done in by poor perimeter shooting, were avoiding the long ball. There was no need, anyway, as Tina Charles dominated from mid-range and in.
But then came overtime. And with the score tied, Cappie Pondexter flipped a cross-court pass to Sugar Rodgers on the left wing . . . Fire away!
Rodgers drilled a three to put the Liberty ahead for good with 1:50 remaining in overtime as it beat the Mystics, 80-76, Tuesday night at the Garden.
The Liberty never trailed in regulation and led by 15, but Washington (13-14) rallied in the second half with North Babylon native Bria Hartley (11 points) forcing overtime. The former UConn star sank a driving layup with a second remaining to tie the score at 71.
Stefanie Dolson's hook shot gave the Mystics their first lead at 73-71 early in overtime. But Plenette Pierson tied it at 73 for the Liberty on a jumper with 2:30 left.
After her go-ahead three, Rodgers (10 points) hit an off-balance runner that pushed the lead to 78-73. Hartley made a three with 53 seconds left, but Washington (13-14) could draw no closer. Pierson hit two free throws with 9.9 seconds left to seal the win.
And so ended a wild contest that the Liberty controlled for almost its entirety, only to have it slip away in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, the Liberty (11-14) won the fourth of its last five and snapped the Mystics' four-game win streak.
Having endured an up-and-down season, a most pleasing sight to Liberty fans might be the WNBA standings: If the season ended right now, the Liberty would have the fourth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, percentage points ahead of the Sky, which they visit Thursday.
A pleasing sound Tuesday night, though, was the five-second snippet of the "Charles in Charge" theme song from the '80s sitcom that the PA cued up during the first quarter. The All-Star center scored 12 of her 23 points in the first quarter, staking the Liberty to an early 21-15 lead. Anna Cruz added 13 points and five assists, and Pondexter had 11 points and seven rebounds.