NEW YORK – Leilani Mitchell scored 19 points, Taj McWilliams-Franklin had 14 points and 10 rebounds and the New York Liberty beat the first-place Indiana Fever 78-57 on Tuesday night, extending their franchise record with their ninth straight win.
Cappie Pondexter scored 13 points and Nicole Powell added 10 to help New York (20-11) win for the 13th time in 15 games since the All-Star break and move one-half game behind Eastern Conference-leading Indiana. The Liberty also evened the season series at 2-2.
Tamika Catchings scored 25 points to lead the Fever (21-11), who held a 21-14 advantage late in the first quarter but then totaled just 20 points in the second and third periods as the Liberty took a double-digit lead.
New York took control for good with a 10-0 run, capped by McWilliams-Franklin's jumper that extended the lead to 67-46 with 5:35 remaining in the game.
Mitchell started the run with a 3-pointer and had a three-point play after picking up a loose ball with her back to the paint and throwing a desperate underhanded toss at the basket with the ball going in off the backboard as she was fouled.
Catchings hit consecutive 3s and Shavonte Zellous made a free throw to pull Indiana to 67-53 with 4:03 left, but that was as close as the Fever got.
Plenette Pierson's jumper with 33 seconds to go capped a 9-0 run that gave New York its biggest lead of the game, 78-55.
Powell had a 3 and a layup and Mitchell hit a 3 to cap a 10-1 run that extended the Liberty's lead to 42-30 with 5:51 left in the third quarter.
Briann January and Jessica Moore made consecutive layups to pull Indiana to 46-39 with under 3 minutes left in the period.
However, New York scored the next seven points and took a 14-point lead on Essence Carson's jumper with under 1½ minutes to go in the third.
Catchings scored 15 of Indiana's first 17 points, helping the Fever take a 21-14 lead with about 2 minutes left in the first quarter.
The Liberty then scored the next 10 points, taking a three-point lead on McCarville's jumper with about 6½ minutes to go in the second quarter.
Catchings' 3 with 6:17 remaining tied the score at 24-all and ended the Fever's scoring drought of 5:44.
McCarville's layup 4 minutes later gave the Liberty a 30-27 lead at halftime, ending a low-scoring second quarter in which New York outscored Indiana 12-6.