NEW YORK, N.Y. – JULY 17, 2016 – Trailing 66-65 with fewer than five minutes to play, the New York Liberty ended the game on an 18-10 run to put away the Connecticut Sun and pick up an 83-76 win at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon.
Jasmine Thomas drove to the rim for two with 5:07 remaining, capping off a 9-2 Connecticut run, to give the Sun that one point lead, its first and only advantage of the final quarter.
On the next Liberty possession, Brittany Boyd was able to get a 17-footer to drop as she was fouled, completing the 3-point play to put New York back in front by two, and the Liberty never trailed again.
The Sun managed to pull within one point once more, thanks to a Shekinna Stricklen triple at 3:57, but Sugar Rodgers got to the line for two on the next Liberty possession, and after another defensive stop, Swin Cash grabbed an offensive board and converted a put back to put the Liberty back in control.
Cash scored a season-high 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting with six rebounds. It was her second game in double figures this season, the first since at Atlanta on June 22, and the first time she led the Liberty in scoring in 2016.
Tina Charles posted her 13th double-double of the year, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Rodgers nailed a pair of 3-pointers, tallying 14 points with three assists and two steals.
Once again the Liberty effort was as much about solid play from its bench as it was leading efforts by the starters. New York had 29 points come from the second unit, including eight from Boyd, who also had three steals and a pair of assists.
Turnovers limited New York’s ability to pull away, particularly in the first half. Overall, the Liberty was outscored 27-13 in points off turnovers, and has been outscored 42-19 in the category over the past two games. But only seven of those points off extra possessions came in the second half for the Sun, when the Liberty held a 10-point advantage.
After falling behind 13-11 early on, the Liberty ended the first quarter on a 10-2 run over the final three minutes to grab a six-point advantage.
Following a Charles drive to the rim for her first basket of the game, Shavonte Zellous started to heat up. A mid-range jumper at 1:13 put New York back in front, 17-15, and in the waning seconds, Charles found Zellous with a crisp pass at the top of the key, which she snagged and drove in for an easy finger roll.
That lead would not last as the Sun took advantage of eight Liberty turnovers in the second quarter to the tune of 13 points the other way to build a 39-36 lead at the half.
The Sun rattled off 14 unanswered as New York struggled to generate consistent offensive opportunities, a stretch that was finally snapped by a Tanisha Wright 18-footer.
Led by Boyd and Amanda Zahui B, the Liberty opened the 4th quarter on an 8-2 run to build a 61-53 lead, its largest of the game. After Zahui B drove the lane and was able to get a hook shot to drop, Boyd completed a 3-point play to cap the hot start and give control of the game back to New York. Connecticut did briefly re-take a one point lead on the Thomas make with just over five minutes on the clock.
New York returns to action against the Washington Mystics on Wednesday, July 20, at the Verizon Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.
• Swin Cash finished with a season-high 16 points, her second game in double figures this season and first since June 22 at Atlanta
• The Liberty has won eight in a row over the Sun
• Tina Charles recorded her 13th double-double of the season and the 122nd of her career, second all-time
• After a Jasmine Thomas layup gave the Sun a 66-65 lead with 5:05 to play the Liberty ended the game on an 18-10 run
• The Liberty is now 14-1 when leading after the 1st quarter
• Connecticut had a 27-13 advantage in points off turnovers and over the past two games the Liberty has been outscored 42-19 in points off turnovers
• New York was able to get 29 points from its bench