Sophia Witherspoon scored 17 points as the New York Liberty won their fourth straight game, 78-62 over the Detroit Shock on Sunday.
The Liberty (12-9) improved to 7-2 at home before a crowd of 15,114 at Madison Square Garden. The loss snapped Detroit's four-game winning streak in a battle for second place in the Eastern Conference.The Liberty, who trail conference leader Charlotte by 21/2 games, are one half-game ahead of Cleveland and one game in front of Detroit with three weeks left in the season.
Rebecca Lobo had 14 points and Kisha Ford added 12 for New York, which led 43-22 at halftime.
Korie Hlede led the Shock (11-10) with 14 points and Cindy Brown added 11.
New York trailed 14-8 but went on a 21-4 run behind Witherspoon's six points to take a 29-18 lead with 3:22 left in the half. Lobo capped the run with a reverse layup before Sandy Brondello hit a short jumper to end a three-minute drought.
The Liberty's pressure defense created another 14-2 run, led by Sue Wicks' four points, to close out the half.
New York shot 57 percent in the first half (17-for-30) and Witherspoon had 11 first-half points on 5-for-8 shooting. Detroit made just eight field goals and shot 25 percent in the first half.
Teresa Weatherspoon, the defensive player of the year last season, had four steals, all in the first half for New York.
The Liberty took their biggest lead, 75-49, on a layup by Trina Trice.
SACRAMENTO 79, WASHINGTON 65: The Sacramento Monarchs spoiled the debut of interim coach Cathy Parsons on Sunday, beating the Washington Mystics 79-65 in a WNBA game.
The victory snapped Sacramento's six-game losing streak and sent Washington to its sixth straight loss. Sacramento (5-14) and Washington (2-16) hold the league's worst records.
The Mystics fired head coach Jim Lewis on Thursday.
Sacramento's Adia Barnes scored 15 points, followed by Ticha Penicheiro , Latasha Byears and Linda Burgess . Nikki McCray carried Washington with 27 points, two shy of her season-high.
Sacramento led nearly the entire game and gradually stretched a 37-28 halftime lead to as many as 22 points - a 66-44 edge with 7:42 remaining.
Washington made several changes under Parsons. Guard Rita Williams and forward Deborah Carter started in place of guard Adrienne Shuler and center Heidi Burge, and the Mystics deployed a seldom-used, full-court press and a more up-tempo offense.
Parson also was more animated than Lewis, standing most of the game to exhort her team.