NEW YORK, NY – MAY 31, 2016 – Despite another monster performance from forward Tina Charles, who finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds for her fifth-straight double-double to start the season, the New York Liberty fell to the defending WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx 79-69 on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Heading into the game, the Liberty had not trailed by double figures at any point this season, but the team found itself facing a 28-11 deficit after the first quarter.
Minnesota started the second quarter shooting just 1-of-7 from the field, as Shavonte Zellous made it a 10-point game with a drive to the basket, but the Lynx responded to take a 15-point lead into halftime.
The lead reached as many as 23 points early in the third quarter. Steadily New York chipped away, eventually pulling within six late in the fourth.
It was a 7-0 run, capped off by a Sugar Rodgers 3-point play at 2:26 that cut the Lynx lead down to 73-67. A Renee Montgomery jumper on the next possession halted the scoring spurt and effectively iced the game for Minnesota.
Zellous enjoyed her highest scoring game as a member of the Liberty, finishing with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Rodgers and Brittany Boyd each finished with nine points for New York.
The Liberty returns to action on Friday, June 3, when it hosts the Indiana Fever at Madison Square Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
New York entered Tuesday’s game averaging 15 more points per game in the paint than its opponents, but was outscored by Minnesota 32-28 in the interior.
Brittany Boyd came off the bench to post a +16 in 24 minutes of action despite struggling to find her shooting touch, hitting 1-of-10 field goals. She had three assists and was 7-for-8 from the line.
After being outscored 28-11 in the first quarter, the Liberty won each of the next three periods.
The Liberty committed 19 turnovers which led to 22 points for the Lynx; Minnesota was +14 in points off turnovers.
Tina Charles continues to lead the WNBA in scoring (23.4 ppg) and rebounding (11.8 rpg).