Plenette Pierson scored nine of her 22 points in the fourth quarter as the New York Liberty recovered after giving up nearly all of a 19-point lead in the third quarter and beat the Seattle Storm, 66-57, on Tuesday in Newark, N.J.
Cappie Pondexter had 13 points for New York (6-7), which had lost three straight and five of its past six.
Tina Thompson scored 13 points and Tanisha Wright added 12 for the Storm (5-8), which has lost five of its past six. Seattle lost three of four on a road swing against Eastern Conference teams.
The Liberty honored Thompson before the game as former Liberty players Kym Hampton and Taj McWilliams-Franklin — currently an assistant coach for New York — presented her with a bouquet of flowers.
Thompson, the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer and the only player to have appeared in each of league’s 17 seasons, has announced she’s retiring at the end of the season.
After Toni Young’s jumper in the opening possession of the third quarter extended the Liberty’s lead to 38-19, the Storm went on a 20-2 run to cut its deficit to one point on Alysha Clark’s layup with 2:58 remaining in the period.
Pondexter made two free throws 14 seconds later, and Pierson followed with a bank shot less than 30 seconds later to push the Liberty’s lead back to five.
Noelle Quinn’s 3-pointer in the opening minute of the fourth cut Seattle’s deficit to three, but the Liberty scored the next seven points to extend the margin to 10 on Pondexter’s layup with 7:45 remaining.
Seattle got no closer than six the rest of the way.
“We’ve been having poor starts for a while now,” Thompson said. “It’s something we’re going to have to find a solution to. As the game continues to go, we get better, we’re playing more efficient and executing. At the beginning of the game we’re having rough starts. ... If we had an answer we probably would have fixed it by now.”
Two days after a 29-point loss at home to Chicago, the Liberty got off to a fast start against the Storm, using runs of 11-0 and 9-0 to lead 24-7 at the end of the first quarter. New York increased the margin to 19, at 33-14 with 3:09 left in the second quarter, before taking a 36-19 lead into halftime.
Rookie Kelsey Bone, the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft, made her first start of the season for the Liberty. Toni Young, selected No. 7, made her second start — first since the season opener.
At Lynx 94, Dream 72: Monica Wright had a season-high 22 points to help the Minnesota Lynx rout the Atlanta Dream in a matchup of the top teams in the WNBA.
Lindsay Whalen added 20 points for Minnesota (9-3), which never trailed and extended its home winning streak to 15 games despite playing without star Seimone Augustus. She suffered a sprained left ankle in Minnesota’s win over Phoenix on Sunday.
Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said Augustus will travel with the team on its four-game road trip to Indiana, Tulsa, San Antonio and Phoenix but gave no timetable for her return to the court.
Angel McCoughtry scored 16 points to lead Atlanta (10-2), which had a night filled with uncharacteristic defensive lapses and lost for the first time since June 9.