Updated: June 10, 2012 5:54PM
NEWARK, N.J. — Epiphanny Prince played in college at Rutgers, some 45 minutes from the Prudential Center, where she took the floor Sunday with the Sky. Prince didn’t want to admit it, but she knew that it was a special game, considering the location.
“I did have a lot of friends here and my brother here, but I tried to treat it like it was any other game,” said Prince, who scored 26 points in the Sky’ 73-64 victory over the New York Liberty. “It feels pretty good to win here. I just wanted to win. I came out aggressive and wanted to attack their defense.”
Prince scored 10 points in the second quarter and had eight in the third.
“She’s one of the five best players in the league right now,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said about Price, the WNBA’s scoring leader. “But today, she just looked comfortable out there. It’s part of her maturation. That’s the Epiphanny Prince everyone has come to know. She opens things up for others and makes special plays. She’s just a special player.”
The Sky are 6-1, the best start in the team’s history.
“I’m very pleased with the way we defended,” Chatman said. “We emphasize defense in practice and that was what we did today. If you can keep a team in the 60s in this league, you clearly have a chance to win.”
Cappie Pondexter, also a former Rutgers player, led New York (3-6) with 22 points. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Liberty.
“I was nervous about this game because it was our fifth game in eight days,” Liberty coach John Whisenant said. “I was nervous and I obviously had a reason. We played five games in that period and they played two. That’s what made me nervous more than anything. We were just a step slower, like we were running stuck in mud. I thought we stayed within distance, but Prince is the leading scorer in the league and made shots when they needed them. That’s what leads to a loss.”
Tamera Young had 12 points for the Sky, and Sylvia Fowles finished 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Kia Vaughn added 16 points for New York.
The Sky then broke open the game with an 8-0 run in the second quarter. Swin Cash made two rebound baskets and Prince hit a long 3-pointer, giving Chicago a 33-22 lead with 4:41 left in the half.
Prince, who had 13 points at the half, hit another trey with 38 seconds left, giving the Sky their biggest lead at 38-25 and they took a 38-27 lead into intermission.
The Liberty shot 31 percent in the first half, but Pondexter had 15 points at the break.
Prince maintained the offensive onslaught in the third quarter, scoring eight points, all from the perimeter, enabling the Sky to hold onto the double-digit advantage.