The Herald Bulletin

June 5, 2013

Fever fall to Liberty in overtime

The Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. — NEWARK, N.J. — Bill Laimbeer is aging quickly with his new team.

Essence Carson scored 21 points and Alex Montgomery added six of her 13 points in overtime as the New York Liberty rallied past Indiana 75-68 Wednesday in a matinee game. It marked the second straight overtime victory for New York.

“I’m almost completely gray now after the last two games,” Liberty coach Laimbeer said, joking. “You don’t want to put yourselves in those positions at home, on the road OK. At home we want to take care of business before overtime. We’re learning, learning about confidence in ourselves. So I guess if you’re going to go overtime and win, that’s a positive.”

New York (2-1) rallied from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter, surviving a nearly 7½-minute drought without a basket between the third and fourth periods, to force overtime.

“We kept being aggressive,” Carson said. “Even though we weren’t getting baskets, they weren’t scoring either.”

Indiana took a 68-67 lead in overtime on Briann January’s jumper with 2:35 left. Montgomery made with consecutive baskets, including one on a putback that gave New York a 71-68 lead with 1:04 left.

After the Fever had a turnover with 14.7 seconds left, they were forced to foul.

“I thanked Alex in the locker room,” Laimbeer said. “By far the best I’ve seen her play. Her energy level was just what we needed. She played to her strengths and was a great boost for us.”

Cappie Pondexter added 17 points for the Liberty (2-1). Tamika Catchings led Indiana (1-2) with 21 points, Shavonte Zellous had 15 and January finished with 13.

The Fever (1-2) had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but January’s drive from the wing was blocked and didn’t come close.

The Liberty, who beat Tulsa in OT in their home opener on Friday, trailed 36-30 at the half and the Fever extended that lead to 51-40 on Sasha Goodlett’s hook with 3:16 left in the period. New York hung around despite going without a basket for the final 4:50 of the third quarter, making made 8 of 10 free throws.

“I think we beat ourselves,” Catchings said. “They came back and coach talked about how we put them on the free-throw line way too much. That third quarter especially, we kept fouling. We’re too good a defensive team to allow that to set us back.”

New York, which made 24 of 29 free throws, cut it to 53-51 on Pondexter’s 3-pointer with 7:23 left and ended the offensive dip. The teams traded baskets during the rest of the fourth until Pondexter’s 3-pointer from the corner with 1:38 left gave the Liberty a 60-59 advantage. It was their first lead since the opening basket.

With 22 seconds left, Catchings got the ball at the top of the key and drove down the lane. She got fouled and hit both free throws.

After a timeout, Pondexter drove on the other end and was fouled. She made the first of two free throws to the tie game. January then missed her runner on the other end to send it to overtime.