NEW YORK – Despite a big night from Sugar Rodgers the New York Liberty fell in preseason action to the Minnesota Lynx, 77-74, on Thursday night at Levien Gymnasium on the campus of Columbia University in a matchup that was open exclusively to Liberty season ticket holders.
The night’s festivities also included a postgame fantasy game, with Liberty stars coaching some of the team’s biggest fans on the court, and an autograph session with Adut Bulgak , Shoni Schimmel, Shavonte Zellous, Ameryst Alston, Sylvia Fowles and Linsay Whalen.
The Liberty trailed by as many as 18 points on Thursday night, but stormed back in the second half thanks largely to Rodgers’ hot hand. She finished shooting 7-of-10 from the field and knocked down three shots from long distance.
Down by 11 heading into the fourth, twice New York made it a one point game but was never able to come all the way back. A Rodgers triple at 4:01 made it 68-67, but Renee Montgomery answered on the other end, banking in a basket as the shot clock expired.
With under a minute to play, Rodgers hit two at the line, once again making it a one-point Liberty deficit. Montgomery connected again to make it a 3-point game and New York failed to make a 3-pointer to force overtime.
Tina Charles also finished in double figures for New York, scoring 10 points. In her New York debut, Schimmel scored five points, and hit a 3-pointer. Montgomery scored 17 to lead Minnesota and Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles both tallied 10 points.
The Liberty outrebounded Minnesota 36-24 and had 12 offensive boards, which led to a 17-5 advantage in second-chance scoring.
New York committed 21 turnovers on Thursday night, which led to 21 points for the Lynx, while the Liberty scored just 14 points off of 15 Minnesota turnovers.
SECOND HALF SURGE
After falling behind by 13 at the half, the Liberty outscored Minnesota 43-33 in the second half, with a big 24-16 edge in the fourth quarter. Rodgers scored 13 of her game-high 22 points in the final period.
The Liberty took 40 free throws on Thursday night, shooting 32-for-40 (80.0 percent) from the charity stripe as the Lynx were whistled for 31 personal fouls.