New York Liberty Coach Richie Adubato was fired yesterday after leading the team to three Eastern Conference titles in 51/2 seasons.

Assistant Pat Coyle was hired as interim coach of the Liberty, which is off to a 7-9 start and tied for fifth place in the conference. The Liberty also fired assistant Jeff House.

Adubato, named coach of the Liberty in December 1998, had a record of 100-79 and led New York to conference titles in 1999, 2000 and '02. The Liberty was beaten in the '99 and 2000 finals by the Houston Comets, and lost to the Los Angeles Sparks in the 2002 finals.

"We thank Richie for his commitment to the Liberty, he played a big part in our past success, most notably guiding us to three Eastern Conference championships, but we felt that at this time the team needed to go in a different direction," Liberty General Manager Carol Blazejowski said in a statement.

Adubato was an NBA head coach with the Detroit Pistons (1979-80), Dallas Mavericks (1989-93) and Orlando Magic (1996-97).

Coyle has been an assistant with the Liberty since 1998. She went 100-77 at Loyola College (1992 to 1998).

* STORM 75, MONARCHS 61: Lauren Jackson had 32 points and 12 rebounds in Seattle.

Jackson scored 23 points in the first half to set a team record and notched her third double-double of the season. It was Jackson's 67th straight double-figure scoring game.

* FEVER 61, MERCURY 60: Tamika Catchings had 19 points, 13 rebounds and a blocked shot in the final seconds to lead host Indiana.

* STING 62, COMETS 55: Dawn Staley and Allison Feaster each scored 16 points to lead visiting Charlotte.

* LYNX 78, SHOCK 70: Rookie Vanessa Hayden scored 10 of her career-high 12 points in the second half, leading Minnesota at home.