Clutch shots managed to keep the New York Liberty within striking distance of the Chicago Sky until the final buzzer, but they could not get a crucial stop down the stretch, falling 103-99 at the Westchester County Center on Friday night.
It was the second nail-biter in as many nights for the Liberty (4-11), who were playing the second leg of a back-to-back after losing on a buzzer-beater in Washington yesterday evening. In two defeats to the Sky (6-9) this season, New York has lost by a combined eight points.
Liberty guard Shavonte Zellous commented on the tough loss. “It’s more frustrating because it’s not like we’re getting blown out with these losses. It’s like one possession, two possessions, that we either didn’t get to the board or we didn’t capitalize on our offense. That hurts us sometimes and puts us in tough situations. These games are going to keep coming and they can break us down or build us up and right now we’re learning to let these games build us up.”
Tina Charles got off to a quick start for the Liberty, scoring their first seven points of the game. With her seventh, she surpassed Tangela Smith to move into 17th on the WNBA all-time scoring list. The veteran finished the game with a team-leading 24 points and has scored in double-figures in every game this season. She also has concluded six games with over 20 points.
Epiphanny Prince chipped in with 21 for the Liberty, her second consecutive game with that total. The guard is shooting 64 percent from the field and has seven threes over her past two games. Brittany Boyd and Amanda Zahui B joined Charles and Prince in double figures with 10 points apiece off the bench.
Head coach Katie Smith commented on Prince’s recent play. “The last two nights it’s been really nice to have her contributions. Not only is she a great scorer in a variety of ways, but she can also find people and is a good facilitator. It’s really nice to have that presence because the other team has to honor her when she is on the floor. It’s really a positive to see her to be able to produce like this.”
The Liberty shot 50 percent from the field and gathered 24 assists for the second consecutive game. Their 99 points were the most they have scored this season, but so were the 103 points they allowed.
The loss was the New York’s fifth in a row, and their seventh in their last eight games. They do not have to wait long for a shot at redemption, as they face the Sky in Chicago on Sunday. Tipoff is set for 6:00 p.m. (ET) at the Wintrust Arena.
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