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Pondexter scores 25 as Liberty top Mercury 74-70

Cappie Pondexter scored 17 of her 25 points in the fourth quarter to help the New York Liberty rally for a 74-70 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday night.

The Mercury were without WNBA leading scorer Diana Taurasi, who sat out a second straight game because of back spasms.

The Mercury got the ball with 12.7 seconds remaining but Penny Taylor missed a long 3-point attempt and Pondexter made a free throw on the other end for the Liberty, who trailed by six points with 6 minutes left.

Nicole Powell added 16 points for New York, which won its third in six games.

Candice Dupree led the Mercury with 17 points and seven rebounds, and Taylor had 14 points and nine rebounds.

Phoenix led by six but Pondexter sparked a late run, capped by a 3-pointer with 3:27 left that gave New York a 68-67 lead. She scored all of her fourth-quarter points in the final 6:32, including an open jumper with 2:46 left and a 3 with 2:01 left that put New York up 73-67.

New York went on a 13-4 run to erase a seven-point deficit in the third quarter before Dupree got a pair of layups and Ketia Swanier hit a 3-pointer to give Phoenix a 52-49 lead going into the final period.

The Liberty ran off 14 straight points in the first quarter to race to a 16-6 lead 8 minutes into the game. New York held the highest scoring team in the league to eight points, a season-low for the Mercury in the opening period.

After their fast start, the Liberty missed 12 of 16 shots, allowing Phoenix to grab a 31-30 lead at the break.

Two-time sixth woman of the year DeWanna Bonner left the game with 3:44 left in the first half after apparently injuring her left elbow when she got tangled up with New York's Kia Vaughn. Bonner had just hit a 25-footer a minute earlier to pull the Mercury to 24-21 after being down by as much as 10. She returned in the third quarter.

Taurasi, the league's leading scorer at 21 points a game, also didn't play Saturday in a win over San Antonio. The seventh-year pro from Connecticut is also the league's top free-throw shooter, was named to her fifth All-Star team this season and was the 2009 league MVP.