The New York Liberty’s first preseason win came on Thursday when they beat the Chinese National Team, 89-71 in their first game at Barclays Center. Kia Nurse and Han Xu led the team’s scoring with 19 points each. Tina Charles added 13 points in nearly 16 minutes of play, and Avery Warley-Talbert grabbed 8 rebounds.
“I like our team,” said second-year head coach Katie Smith. “I thought everybody was aggressive and that, at the end of the day is what we need.”
Despite trailing 42-36 at the half, New York rallied back to score 25 points in the third quarter over China’s 13.
Brittany Boyd also led the team with four assists during her 21 minutes.
New York’s 2019 first round pick (2nd overall), Asia Durr added 6 points and 3 rebounds in her professional debut.
The Liberty’s second round pick (14th overall), Han Xu made a statement during her first WNBA scoring 19 points, shooting 54.5% from the field and leading the team with more than 21 minutes played.
“I hope I can be an inspiring player and motivate people to come out and watch games, and really bring some attention to women’s basketball,” said Xu during a postgame interview.
China was backed by Li Meg’s 15 points and five assists. Li Yueru and Wang Xuemeng also scored double figures, adding 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Liberty return to preseason action on May 13 at the Mohegan Sun Arena against the Connecticut Sun. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.
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