Rodgers help Liberty end 3-game skid with win over Fever
NEW YORK (AP) With a trip looming, New York wasn't about to let another game slip away.
Instead, the Liberty came away with their largest victory in almost six years.
Sugar Rodgers made five 3-pointers and scored 21 points to help New York beat the Indiana Fever 91-59 on Friday night in a rematch of the Eastern Conference finals.
Tina Charles added 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists for New York. The Liberty (3-3) ended a three-game skid. They will hit the road for games against Seattle, Los Angeles and San Antonio.
''We definitely needed this one,'' Charles said. ''After letting a few get away this was one we wanted to have.''
New York inserted Swin Cash into the starting lineup for the first time this season. The veteran forward finished with nine points for the Liberty. She signed with the team May 24.
Leading 28-26 midway through the second quarter, New York closed the half with a 14-3 run to take a 42-29 advantage at the break. Shavonte Zellous capped the run when she was fouled by Erica Wheeler just before the halftime buzzer and made all three free throws.
Indiana (3-4) couldn't get within single digits in the second half. Coach Stephanie White wasn't pleased after the game.
''Out toughed us, out worked us, out executed us, out efforted us, really kicked our (butt),'' she said. ''That's all there is to it. That's all I have to say about that.''
It was Zellous' first game against her former team. The veteran guard, who spent the previous six years with the Fever before leaving as a free agent this offseason, scored a season-high 13 points.
''It was another game. It was about the New York Liberty against the Indiana Fever,'' she said. ''We let a few games slip away from us here. We knew we had to protect our home court. We came out with a huge victory today against a very good Indiana team.''
Zellous was a key factor when the Fever knocked New York out of the playoffs last season. The Liberty, who had the best record in the WNBA last season, were missing Brittany Boyd for that series because of a fractured left wrist. The second-year guard made her presence felt Friday night on both ends of the court. She played pesky defense and also was a sparkplug on offense to help New York to its biggest win ever over Indiana, surpassing the 19-point victory on June 25, 2002.
Indiana rookie Tiffany Mitchell continued her impressive start to the season. She scored 11 points to lead the team. She has reached double figures in scoring every game this season so far and leads the Fever with just under 15 points a game.
Tamika Catchings and Shenise Johnson each had 10 points for the Fever.
''Fortunately we have another game in 48 hours so we have a chance to get back on the court quickly,'' Catchings said.