WASHINGTON, D.C. – JULY 20, 2016 – Fueled by a record-setting performance from its second unit, the New York Liberty defeated the Washington Mystics 88-81 on Wednesday afternoon at the Verizon Center. With the win, the Liberty improved to 18-7 overall, matching its best start through 25 games in franchise history, a mark that was initially set just last season.
New York saw four bench players score in double figures, and an incredible 69 of its 88 points from the bench. The 69 points for non-starters set a new WNBA single-game record, eclipsing the previous mark of 63, set by the Washington Mystics in 2014.
The previous record in a non-overtime game was actually held by the Liberty, when its bench combined for 62 points in a 105-72 win over the Phoenix Mercury on June 22, 2008.
For the Liberty bench, 39 of those points came during the first half, as they collectively helped New York overcome a slow start to jump ahead by 10 at halftime.
New York trailed by as many as 13 points in the first quarter as the Mystics opened the game shooting well from the field and especially 3-point range, nailing three of their first four attempts from downtown to help build a 21-8 advantage.
Hitting just 4-of-14 attempts to start the game, the Liberty closed to within six by the start of the second quarter. Shavonte Zellous was able to get to the line for two, sparking a 9-2 run capped off by a Rebecca Allen trey.
That spurt was just the start of what turned into a 21-4 run spread over two quarters, which enabled New York to regain control of the game. Zellous tied things up with a short jumper in the paint, and the lead was back with the Liberty when Allen converted two attempts at the line.
The Liberty bench combined for 28 of the team’s 30 points in that big second quarter swing, with Zellous tallying 10 points, while Allen and Amanda Zahui B each finished with eight. Allen did so with two more makes from downtown, which made her the first Liberty player this season other than Sugar Rodgers or Tina Charles to hit at least three 3-pointers in a game.
Washington opened the 3rd quarter on a 19-5 run, coming all the way back to tie the game 54-54 on an Ivory Latta 3-pointer just over five minutes into the period. New York managed to weather that surge, and regained the lead as Brittany Boyd fed Zahui B under the basket for an easy two.
A little under two minutes later, Boyd connected from downtown, the first of two 3-pointers for the second year guard, putting New York back in front by five and the Liberty never trailed the rest of the way.
Washington did prevent New York from pulling away, cutting the Liberty lead down to 83-79 late in the fourth quarter, but naturally it was Boyd driving through the lane and hitting Kiah Stokes with a crisp pass under the basket to squash any hopes of a comeback.
Four of the Liberty’s five bench players that saw action on Wednesday scored in double figures. Allen netted a career-high 19 points, knocking down a persona best four 3-pointers. Boyd finished with 17 points and a career-high seven assists. Zahui B narrowly missed out on a double-double, scoring 15 points with nine rebounds, and Zellous scored 14 points.
The Liberty closes out the pre-Olympic portion of its schedule on Thursday, July 21, as it hosts the Indiana Fever for Camp Day presented by Mike and Ike at Madison Square Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for 11 a.m.
• The Liberty set a WNBA record with 69 points coming from non-starters, the previous mark was 63 overall, and 62 for a non-overtime game.
• The Liberty saw just 19 points come from its starting lineup, which tied a WNBA record for the fewest points from starters in a win
• The Liberty improves to 18-7, tied for its best-ever record through 25 games in franchise history (2015)
• New York finished with 69 bench points, 39 of which came during the first half
• The Liberty had four bench players finish in double figures and just one starter (Tina Charles)
• Brittany Boyd scored a season high 17 points and tied her career high of 7 assists
• Rebecca Allen scored a career-high 19 points and hit 4 3-pointers, the first Liberty player other than Charles or Rodgers to hit at least three 3-pointers in a game this season