Mercury fall to 2-2 as Taurasi sits out 2-point loss to Liberty

PHOENIX — Epiphanny Prince hit a go-ahead jumper with 4.5 seconds left and the New York Liberty held off the Phoenix Mercury 69-67 on Tuesday night.

Prince dribbled down the clock and used two high screens to sink the jumper from the wing. After a timeout, Leilani Mitchell drove to the basket but her shot was blocked by Sugar Rodgers.

Prince was 10 of 14 from the field, including four 3-pointers, and finished with 24 points. Tina Charles added 22 points and 11 rebounds for New York (2-1), which is ranked fourth in the AP power poll.

Phoenix (2-2) struggled offensively for much of the game without star Diana Taurasi. She was serving a one-game suspension after an incident in last Friday’s game against San Antonio. She was called for a technical foul during the game but the league office ruled it a level two flagrant foul.

New York led by 15 points with 2:47 left in the third quarter but Phoenix closed on a 12-0 run and led 67-62 with 2:51 left. Prince hit a 3-pointer and Kia Vaughn a hook shot to tie it with 1:42 left to set up the exciting finish.

“I’m very proud of the effort in the second half to keep New York to 25 points, I’m very happy with that,” Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. “It would have been nice to win the game. We fought back; it shows a lot of character about this team.”

Brittney Griner led Phoenix with 19 points and six blocks. Stephanie Talbot and reserve Yvonne Turner scored 12 points apiece, and Mitchell had 11 points and five assists.

The Mercury made just 22 of 64 spots (34.4 percent) and 3 of 19 from 3-point range. They were outrebounded 37-28.