NEW YORK – Tina Charles scored 23 points, Sugar Rodgers had five points and two huge defensive plays in overtime, and the New York Liberty beat the Washington Mystics 80-76 on Tuesday night.
The Liberty (11-14) blew a 15-point lead in the third quarter before pulling out their fourth win in five games.
Trailing 73-71 in the extra period, Plenette Pierson made a tying jumper with 2 1/2 minutes left. Rodgers then scored five straight, hitting a deep 3-pointer and a runner to put New York up 78-73 with 1:02 to go.
Bria Hartley, who sent the game into OT with a tying layup with 0.6 seconds remaining in regulation, made a 3 with 56 seconds to go. Pierson made two free throws with 9.9 seconds left and Rodgers came up with two jump balls in the final seconds to seal the win.
Kia Vaughn had 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Mystics (13-14), snapped a four-game winning streak.
Washington coach Mike Thibault's young team had a great rally to even send this game to overtime.
New York led 56-41 with 1:24 left in the third quarter before the Mystics got it going. Ivory Latta hit a 3-pointer to start a 25-10 run and Stefanie Dolson tied the score at 66 with 1:55 remaining. Charles answered with a runner in the lane to give New York the lead. After Washington came up empty on its possession, Anna Cruz hit a jumper from the corner to make it 70-66.
Washington wasn't done as Kara Lawson converted a three-point play with 22.7 seconds left. After New York turned over the inbounds pass, Rodgers stripped Monique Currie and hit a free throw to make it 71-69.
Both teams are in the thick of the playoff race. New York is in fourth, a game behind Washington, which was trying to move above .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2010 when the Mystics finished first in the Eastern Conference.
New York led 23-18 in the second quarter before scoring 10 straight points to build a double-digit lead. The Liberty led 40-26 in the closing seconds of the half before Latta stole the ball and scored to give Washington a little momentum. The Liberty seized it right back as Alex Montgomery swished a 3 from beyond half-court at the halftime buzzer to make it 43-28.
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