The Liberty opened the 2019 season at Westchester County Center against the Indiana Fever on Friday night. Despite Charles’ impressive performance of 32 points and 12 rebounds, the team fell short to Indiana after rookie, Teaira McCowan scored a layup at the buzzer.
New York finished the game shooting 40% from the field. Second year guard Kia Nurse and Reshanda Gray also scored in double figures for the Liberty, with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Gray also snagged 8 rebounds, coming off the bench.
Asia Durr added 8 points and 2 assists off the bench in her WNBA debut.
The fourth quarter included seven lead changes and ties in the final six minutes. Tina Charles put the Liberty ahead, 80-79, with seven seconds to go in the game. Charles scored 10 of New York’s final 13 points.
Tiffany Mitchell lead Indiana in scoring with 22 points off the bench.
The Liberty’s next game will be a rematch at Indiana on Saturday, June 1 at 7 p.m.
Coach Katie Smith
Message to the team after the lost….
“Just stay positive, lots of positive things. But again turnovers, we can’t turn it over 16 times. We’ve been talking about this. It’s one of our emphasizes…taking care of the ball. Our field goal percentage got better but putting the ball in the hole…Lots of little stuff, but overall letting them know how tough this league is and that most of these games will come down to the wire. It’s those things that build up and put you in the dog fight.”
Thoughts on Tina Charles deserving the win……
“I thought she was aggressive, yet the boards are probably most impressive for me with her getting in there especially that last o-board she got…Lots of good things, but to fight that hard to come up short is tough, but we’ll lace up again against them down at their place next week. Just wish we were a little more consistent throughout the game.”
Charles on the disappointing finish…
“We came out and played hard. We jumped on them but then we died down a bit. The turnovers hurt us; I think they had 16 points off turnovers. Then us just boxing out, (Teaira) McCowan did a really good job of getting offensive rebounds. Bria Hartley gave us a great spark and Reshanda Gray played great and it’s good to see her back in the WNBA.”
Nurse on her second season in the league…
“You just have a better idea of what to expect every single game. People can tell you how hard it is to play in this league and how hard it is to make this league but once you are truly in it – you see every single night is a grind and you’re playing the best players in the world at your position it’s something that’s tough to explain. Now coming in as a second year, you feel more comfortable.”
Nurse on mentoring the rookies…
“It’s a tough transition to come from college where everything is taken care of. Now it’s your obligation to manage. I try to keep it light-hearted with them and they get an open space where they know if they need anything, they have me.”
Durr on her first game in the league…
“It’s a process. It’s my first year and everyone goes through that process. This is a change now. It was just two months ago I was playing against college players. It’s a long road you have to take it step by step and stay present.”
Hartley on the relationship with new teammates…
“I feel like when you have players like (Asia) Durr coming in, it’s easy. She’s a really good play maker, she makes my job easier. She is really good in a lot of situations. I watched her play in college and that helped. I’ve just been learning what she likes. I just try to talk to her, what plays to you feel most comfortable in, so I know what to call. I just want to put her in the best position to do well.”
On Teairra Mcowan
“I really trusted her to make that pass. And For her to finish that at the end.Even Though she was in heavy foul trouble, she had some quality minutes and momentum plays. It was ugly at time but my team showed resilience to bring it back and win the game. It was a good feeling to have the rookie deliver at the end!
On Candace Owens
“We wanted to put the ball in the middle since they were switching their screens. So we thought once they switched in the middle pick and roll we had some vision to see and to deliver after that. Luckily it was 7 seconds a little bit more time to make a read on the close out and Candace attacked!”
On tonight’s win
“Basketball is a game of runs… the 3rd quarter was not great for us. We had to lock in and get a stop down the stretch.”
On buzzer-beater by Tearia McCowan
“ 7 seconds is a lot of time we were able to execute and get the ball to our big girl.”
On preparing for next game
“I think we need to clean up the offensive rebounding… if we can do that, we can get rebounds get out there and run.”
On hitting game-winning shot
“Candice Dupree drove and kicked the ball to me… she always tells me in practice you are a big always keep your hands ready …I knew when she drove the ball and dish it off to me I had a small amount of time go up so I went up and it (ball) went in.”
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