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Liberty beat Fever in season finale

NEW YORK — Plenette Pierson scored 15 points and Anna Cruz added 10 to help the New York Liberty beat the Indiana Fever 73-61 on Sunday night, closing out the regular season for both teams.

With the second seed in the playoffs already clinched, Indiana rested star Tamika Catchings along with starters Erlana Larkins and Briann January. The Fever (16-18) will open up the playoffs at home against Washington.

New York finished the season in a disappointing fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Liberty (15-19) started out the year with high expectations after the draft day trade for Tina Charles. The season ended in disappointing fashion for the second straight year with the Liberty missing the playoffs.

Rookie Maggie Lucas scored a season-high 17 points to lead the Fever.

The Liberty led from the opening minutes. Indiana got within 59-55 with 6:31 left before New York scored six straight to restore its double-digit lead and seal the win.

The Liberty don't have a pick in the league's draft lottery, which takes place Thursday, because New York traded it to Connecticut as part of the deal to get Charles.

She had a great first season for the Liberty but couldn't get them to the playoffs. Charles finished with 17 double-doubles, which tied for tops in the league. Charles played just under nine minutes in the finale as coach Bill Laimbeer rested her in the second half.

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