Will the real New York Liberty team please stand up? Well, after an up and down season, it looks like the real Liberty team is doing just that. Tina Charles scored 21 points and the New York Liberty used their biggest run of the season to defeat the Los Angeles Sparks 83-69 on Sunday for their third-straight win. Shavonte Zellous hit a season-high three 3-pointers to finish with 19 points.
Odyssey Sims had 18 points and Chelsea Gray 15 for the Sparks (19-8). Candace Parker added 14 points, 10 in the first quarter when Los Angeles hit its first six shots and seven of nine overall to take a 27-16 lead.
After trailing 27-16 after the 1st quarter, the Liberty held Los Angeles to just eight points in the 2nd period, going on a 20-0 run to take a 9-point lead into the locker room, and New York never trailed again. The Liberty were up by as many as 16 in the 2nd half, and saw three different players score in double figures, with Epiphanny Prince finishing with 18 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. The eight points for the Sparks in the 2nd quarter were the fewest points scored for a Liberty opponent in any quarter this season, and the fewest points for the Sparks in any quarter in 2017.
When The Ball Is Moving, Good Things Come
New York greatly improved offensively from their last home game against Indiana on Tuesday. The Liberty rotated the ball often and efficiently opening up the floor and shooting at a 43.7% clip from the floor. Additionally, they shot 91.7% (11-12) from the free throw line. “When we move the ball we’re at our best,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer after the win. “Whether we’re running it and moving the ball or in the half court and moving the ball, that’s when we’re successful.”
The Defense Set The Pace
The Liberty buckled down on their signature defensive effort. The Liberty collected 25 defensive boards and made five steals. Laimbeer felt the latter statistic, mixed with lots of disruption in the paint was a good sign, “We got our hand on a lot of balls which means that we were very engaged and very active.” The high energy of New York appeared to wear Los Angeles down.
The Liberty Paid Their Respects To The Situation In Charlottesville, Virginia
Prior to tipoff, the Liberty held a moment of silence to remember 32-year old Heather Heyer, and Virginia State Patrol Troopers Berke Bates and Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, who died tragically as a result of the violent events that transpired this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Next Up For The Liberty
New York returns to action on Friday, Aug. 18, when it faces the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.,m.