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Short-handed Mercury fall to Liberty

PHOENIX (AP) — Tina Charles had 31 points and 10 rebounds, Sugar Rodgers added 22 points and the New York Liberty beat the short-handed Phoenix Mercury 99-88 on Friday night.

New York went ahead 64-41 after a six-point possession in which Phoenix stars Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi were ejected.

Taurasi was called for a technical foul with 7:41 left in the third quarter after picking up an offensive foul. On New York’s next possession, Sonja Petrovic was whistled for a questionable foul and then Griner picked up her fourth contesting Charles’ jumper.

Griner had words with an official and was ejected. Taurasi was also sent off and coach Sandy Brondello got a technical. Rodgers made four straight free throws and Charles added two.

Phoenix rallied to pull to 85-78 with 3:27 left after Isabelle Harrison scored six straight Mercury points during a 9-2 run. But Rodgers made a 3-pointer and Charles had a putback to extend New York’s lead to 90-78.

Shavonte Zellous and Tanisha Wright added 16 points apiece for New York (12-5), which is No. 3 in the AP power poll. The Liberty are 8-1 on the road this season.

DeWanna Bonner made four 3-pointers and scored 22 points for seventh-ranked Phoenix (7-10).