Marissa Coleman refused to let her former team steal one at the Westchester County Center, sinking a three with 16.8 seconds remaining in a tie game. The shot would prove to be the game winner, as the New York Liberty held on to beat the Indiana Fever, 78-75. The victory snapped a two-game skid for New York, while Indiana lost their eighth straight contest to begin the season.
The Liberty (3-4) were trailing by three with just over two minutes remaining when Bria Hartley decided to take over. The guard scored seven straight points to give New York a three-point lead, before Victoria Vivians tied the game for the Fever (0-8) with 33 seconds left. Coleman would provide the answer just 17 seconds later to reward New York the victory.
It was another tightly contested battle for the Liberty, who have seen every game this season settled by single digits. There were 18 lead changes, and neither team led by more than seven at any point in the contest.
Head coach Katie Smith spoke about the game. “It was another tough one. I thought it was tough for either team to really get a flow. It was a really hard-fought game. It just never felt easy, but I thought our squad had a lot of contribution off the bench which gave us a spark and probably put us over the top.”
The Liberty came into the contest shooting just 30.1 percent from distance, the second-lowest mark in the league. Against Indiana, they converted a season-best 13 of their 24 attempts (54.2%), the most threes the Fever have endured in their franchise history. Sugar Rodgers led the way, making five of her nine attempts from behind the arc, the most makes in a game by a Liberty player this season. She paced the team with 16 points.
Tina Charles’ 13 points and four rebounds both tabbed a season-low.
Four other Liberty players joined her in double figures-Rodgers (16), Hartley (12), Shavonte Zellous (10), and Kia Nurse (10). It was the second consecutive game where at least four players reached the 10-point benchmark. Liberty reserves combined for 32 points.
Charles commented on her teammates contributions. “The team definitely stepped up. I’ve been in situations like that before where the ball is just not going in the rim and it’s frustrating. When you have a team that is playing hard and encouraging each other, it just shows the depth of this team. Everyone is capable of being a star in their own role.”
The Liberty celebrated its eighth annual Pride Night with special guests White Plains based organization The LOFT: LGBT Community Center and the NOH8 Campaign.
New York will look to a midweek contest against former head coach, Bill Laimbeer and the Las Vegas Aces, on Wednesday, June 13. The action begins at 7 p.m. (ET) inside the Westchester County Center.
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