An early three-point barrage gave the Phoenix Mercury an 18-point lead midway through the second quarter, but a 17-4 New York Liberty run cut the deficit to five with under a minute to play in the first half. After trading baskets to start the second half, the Mercury (11-5) pulled away, 83-69, at the Westchester County Center on Tuesday night.
Diana Taurasi led the charge for Phoenix in the first half, hitting all six of her attempts from the field, including five from deep. The veteran finished with a team-high 27 points, and her seven threes were the most this season by a Liberty (4-9) opponent.
Head coach Katie Smith commented on Phoenix’s performance from distance. “It’s tough because they have shooters all over the floor. Tonight, everyone was hitting shots. Diana shouldn’t hit that many threes. Obviously, knowing who she is coming into the ballgame, we needed to run her off the line and make her take tough contested twos.”
Tina Charles led New York with 12 points. With a layup in the first quarter, she scored the 5,014th point of her prestigious career, surpassing Taj McWilliams-Franklin to move into 18th on the WNBA all-time scoring list.
Charles discussed the milestone. “I’m thankful to be in this league. When I was younger, I didn’t think I would have this much of an impact, so I am very thankful for my coaches, my teammates, the organizations I’ve played with and that they trust me with my offensive abilities.”
Bria Hartley added 11 points for the Liberty, along with five rebounds and three assists. The starting point guard is averaging 14.5 points a game against Phoenix this season. Brittany Boyd racked up seven assists in the contest off the bench— she has averaged 7.8 assists per game over the last four.
Similar to the last matchup against Phoenix (6/5), New York once again won the battle on the offensive glass with an 8-3 advantage, but the Mercury made up for the disparity at the free throw line with 10 more attempts.
The defeat was the Liberty’s third straight, marking their longest losing streak of the season. They will have the chance to turn things around on Thursday when they face the Washington Mystics for the first time this season. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. (ET) at the Capital One Arena.
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