Liberty wins 5th straight before All-Star break

LOS ANGELES (AP) Tina Charles had 14 points and 14 rebounds for her eighth double-double and the New York Liberty beat the Los Angeles Sparks 59-53 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory.

New York (12-5) won its third consecutive game on the road to secure sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference heading into the All-Star break.

Epiphanny Prince added 13 points for New York and Essence Carson had 12. New York tied its lowest scoring total of the season after shooting just 26 percent from the field (17 of 66). But the Liberty held a 55-33 advantage on the glass, including 19-3 on the offensive end, and made 25 of 34 free throws. The Sparks had only 12 free throws, making them all.

Kristi Toliver led Los Angeles (3-13) with 16 points, Jantel Lavender had 12, and Marianna Tolo 10.

Toliver made the only 3-pointer for either team with 22 seconds remaining to pull Los Angeles to 56-53. But New York's Tanisha Wright answered with two free throws.

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