A Marissa Coleman layup with 30 seconds left on the clock gave the New York Liberty an 85-84 lead over the Connecticut Sun, and a Bria Hartley free throw with 5.8 seconds remaining extended the lead to two. As the final buzzer sounded at the Westchester County Center, the Sun netted a miracle thanks to a four-point play from Shekinna Stricklen to round out the final, 87-85.
The Liberty (2-4) held a 13-point lead at halftime which included a 54-point outburst, but they mustered just 32 points after the break. The game marked yet another nail-biting finish for the Liberty who have seen each one of their matchups determined by single digits, combining for 15 points.
Despite another tough loss, head coach Katie Smith largely lauded her team’s effort. “I love our squad, I like their mentality and that they battle when they are tired. They show up every day and are trying to do things we have asked them. But we just needed a little more.”
Tina Charles continued her excellent start to the season, putting up a team-high 24 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. It was the fourth consecutive game with over 20 points for the league’s leading scorer.
Charles commented on the loss. “We know this game should have been ours with the talent we have in the room, we know how much hard work Katie and the coaching staff has been putting in to prepare us for games. When we watch film, we know we are right there. We have to keep holding each other accountable and motivating one another.”
A variety of other Liberty players helped the cause. Shavonte Zellous returned to double figures after a quiet two-point performance against Phoenix (6/5), finishing with 13 points along with seven assists. Coleman turned in a well-rounded game, notching 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists, while Kia Nurse chipped in 11 points off the bench.
After getting to the line just five times against Phoenix (6/5), the Liberty cashed in from the charity stripe in this one, hitting 15-of-19 attempts. Connecticut, meanwhile, shot just 50%, leaving 12 points at the line. However, the Sun attempted 13 more shots than the Liberty, due to an advantage in both offensive rebounds (16 to 6) and turnovers (9 to 11).
The Liberty have now dropped the first two of their four-game homestand. On Sunday, June 10th, they host the winless Indiana Fever in a rematch of their overtime thriller from last week. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. (ET) at the Westchester County Center.
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