PHOENIX (AP) -- Cappie Pondexter scored 31 points to lead the New York Liberty to an 89-77 victory over Phoenix on Thursday night, handing the Mercury their ninth straight loss.
Nicole Powell and Leilani Mitchell scored 13 points each, Plenette Pierson had 12 points and Kara Braxton added 12 points and nine rebounds to help the Liberty (9-13) win for the third time in four games since the league's month-long Olympic break.
Pondexter shot 9 for 15 from the field -- 5 for 9 on 3pointers -- and was 8 for 8 from the free-throw line. New York shot 47 percent (30 for 64), including 13 for 27 on 3s, and moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference, one-half game ahead of Chicago and two games behind third-place Atlanta.
DeWanna Bonner scored 34 points for Phoenix (4-18), which continued to play without several of its injured regulars.
The Liberty led by 18 in the first half before Phoenix rallied to pull to 56-53 midway through the third period on Bonner's layup. However, Pondexter scored nine points over the next 6 minutes and New York took a 70-61 lead into the final period.
Sammy Prahalis added 12 points, four rebounds and four assists, and Krystal Thomas added 13 rebounds for the Mercury, who played only eight players.
Phoenix was without Olympic gold medalist Diana Taurasi, who was in warmups but said she felt lightheaded and did not play. She underwent a dental procedure last Friday. Before the Olympic break, Taurasi had missed 18 of Phoenix's 20 games with a hip flexor but then led the Americans in scoring during the Olympic tournament, averaging 12.4 points a game.
Phoenix regulars Candice Dupree (knee), Alexis Gray-Lawson (knee) and Charde Houston (ankle) all sat out with injuries.
New York made 4 of 5 from beyond the arc in the first 4 minutes and then scored eight straight points to take a 30-16 lead after the first quarter.
Pondexter hit three 3s in the second to help the Liberty take a 45-27 lead with 4:36 left in the half. But Bonner scored nine points down the stretch as the Mercury closed to 50-40 at the break.