MINNEAPOLIS – Nicole Powell scored 21 points and Cappie Pondexter added 17 to help the New York Liberty extend their winning streak to six games Sunday night with a 74-72 victory over the Minnesota Lynx.
Lindsay Whalen scored 18 points and Monica Wright added 16 for Minnesota. Rebekkah Brunson grabbed 18 rebounds for the Lynx (10-17)
The victory was New York's 10th in its past 12 games as the Liberty (17-11) continues to close the gap on Atlanta and Indiana for the best record in the WNBA's Eastern Conference. The winning streak is New York's longest since 2004. The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for a Minnesota team that is battling for a playoff spot with Los Angeles and San Antonio.
Trailing by 12 points early in the fourth quarter, Minnesota didn't go away. The Lynx scored the next 11 points to get back in the game. When Wright scored a layup with 6:43 to play, the Lynx were within 63-62.
When Minnesota's Seimone Augustus took a pass from Wright and scored with 4:11 to play, the Lynx cut New York's lead to 67-66. But on the next possession, Powell made her fifth 3-pointer of the game and Minnesota would get no closer.
Pondexter, who entered the game fourth in the WNBA in scoring, made a pair of free throws with 1:29 to play to stretch New York's lead to 74-70. Wright cut the lead to two on the next possession, but the Lynx missed an opportunity to tie the game on the final possession.
Leading by four at halftime, New York built its advantage in the third quarter by pushing the ball on offense and by limiting Augustus. Midway though the period, the Liberty pushed its lead to double digits for the first time and New York led 53-41 when Leilani Mitchell turned a Lynx turnover into a layup with 5:24 to play.
A layup from New York's Essence Carson with 41 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Liberty a 62-49 lead.
For Minnesota, the third quarter was a huge departure from Saturday's win a Chicago. Against the Sky, Minnesota rallied after halftime behind Augustus.
New York, however, held Augustus without a field goal in the third quarter and to only 10 points overall. Augustus, who scored 27 at Chicago, entered the game averaging 18.9 points per game.