Vickie Johnson scored 14 points to lead the New York Liberty to a 72-58 victory over the Charlotte Sting today at Madison Square Garden. Sophia Witherspoon added 13 points for New York (5-1), which won its third straight before a crowd of 13,337.
Charlotte (3-4) came within 62-52 with 5 minutes 43 seconds remaining, but went scoreless for the next four minutes. Liberty rookie Tamika Whitmore had five points in that span as New York extended its lead to 68-52 with 1:45 left.
Andrea Stinson scored 12 of her team-high 15 points in the first half. Dawn Staley added 13 points for the Sting, which played its fourth game in six days.
Kym Hampton had 11 points and Teresa Weatherspoon added seven points and 11 assists for the Liberty, which is in first place in the Eastern Conference.
Staley, third in the league averaging 6.3 assists per game, finished with just two in 30 minutes.
Charlotte closed with an 8-0 run to trail 37-33 at halftime. New York shot 52 percent in the first half, led by Johnson's 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
After a steal and layup by Staley to pull Charlotte within 46-41 at 15:02, New York went on a 13-2 run capped by Weatherspoon's no-look pass to Crystal Robinson for a layup to make it 59-43 with 10:20 remaining.