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updated: 8/28/2011 11:32 PM

Prince lifts Chicago Sky to victory with late 3-pointer

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  • Chicago Sky's Erin Thorn celebrates after scoring a three- points shot during the fourth quarter of an WNBA basketball game against the New York Liberty on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011, in Rosemont, Ill. The Sky won 74-73. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

      Chicago Sky's Erin Thorn celebrates after scoring a three- points shot during the fourth quarter of an WNBA basketball game against the New York Liberty on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011, in Rosemont, Ill. The Sky won 74-73. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

 

There's still a heartbeat.

It's a faint one, but it's a heartbeat, nonetheless.

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The Chicago Sky is still alive in the hunt for a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, thanks to a wild 74-73 victory over the New York Liberty Sunday in front of 5,707 fans at Allstate Arena.

The Sky, which got a rushed 3-pointer from guard Epiphanny Prince as the shot clock ran down with 31 seconds left in the game and then withstood a wayward last-second shot attempt by New York guard Cappie Pondexter, is now 1 games behind the Atlanta Dream for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East.

"It was big for us," Prince said of the win. "We need every win now."

"It feels good," said Sky center Sylvia Fowles, who tied guard Erin Thorn for team-high scoring honors with 17 points. "We're never on this end (of a close game). This last stretch (of games) has been pretty good for us."

With every game over the last week or so having playoff implications, the Sky has answered the call. The Sky, now 14-15 on the season, is 4-1 over the last five games. Its only loss came on a last-second shot Tuesday by the Dream.

The Sky gets another crack at New York on Tuesday at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. The Liberty is fighting its own fight, hoping to leapfrog Indiana and Connecticut for first place in the Eastern Conference.

"These are playoff-type games for everyone right now," Thorn said. "Everyone is fighting for a spot. Nothing's locked up in the East.

"We've got to win all our games."

Thorn did her best to make sure the Sky won this one.

She started her first game of the season Friday against the Mystics, got the nod again against the Liberty and is making the most of her added minutes and opportunities.

Thorn, a savvy veteran who is being counted on to help the Sky cut down on its league-leading 18 turnovers per game, hit 3 of 5 three-pointers, proficiently ran the offense from the point and dished out 4 assists.

"I'm excited about her play," Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. "We ran some stuff for Erin early and she got some looks.

"She wanted to have the ball in her hands, she was reading things. I think her knowledge helps when things are a little rattled out there."

Prince wasn't rattled at all by the thought of bailing out the Sky with the game on the line.

With the Sky trailing 73-71 as the shot clock wound down in that final minute, she calmly did a crossover move at the top of the key to loosen up her defender so that she had room to launch her 3-pointer.

• Patricia Babcock McGraw, who covers the WNBA for the Daily Herald, also provides color commentary for Chicago Sky broadcasts.

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