LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – JULY 3, 2016 – The New York Liberty fell to the Los Angeles Sparks 77-67 to wrap up a three-game road trip at the Staples Center on Sunday afternoon.
Tina Charles continued her strong play, as the WNBA’s leading scorer and rebounder finished with 27 points and nine rebounds. But it was not enough to lead New York (12-6) to a win after the Sparks (16-1) got off to a hot start and then finished strong in the second half.
New York never led in the first half and trailed by as many as 11 in the second quarter before making a big push after the intermission.
The Liberty managed to cut its halftime deficit down to six when Kiah Stokes grabbed an offensive board and let go of a put back just before the final buzzer.
That surge continued into the second half where New York opened with five unanswered, eventually knotting the score at 45-45 on a Charles 18-footer, and the Liberty grabbed its first lead, 48-47, as Sugar Rodgers connected from downtown for the third time.
New York’s advantage never reached higher than three, and Los Angeles responded with an 11-4 run to rebuild its halftime cushion of six, 58-52, heading into the fourth.
With fewer than two minutes remaining, Tanisha Wright nailed a15-footer to pull the Liberty within seven points, only to see the Sparks respond with a Nneka Ogwumike 3-pointer and an Alana Beard basket high off the glass as the shot clock expired at 50.5 to give the Los Angeles its largest lead of the game, 77-65.
Rodgers nailed four 3-pointers, increasing her WNBA leading tally to 54 on the year, scoring 14 points to finish as the only other Liberty player in double figures.
The Sparks were led by Ogwumike’s 22 points and 15 rebounds, Candace Parker and Kristi Toliver both had 15 points.
The Liberty returns to action on Wednesday night when it hosts the Seattle Storm at Madison Square Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
• This was the final regular season meeting of the season between New York and LA, and the Sparks will be the only team New York has failed to defeat at least once (0-3).
• Tina Charles posted her ninth-consecutive game of at least 21 points and has scored in double figures 16 times this season.
• The Liberty are now 8-2 on the road, with both losses coming at Los Angeles
• New York had scored 90 points in three-straight games for the first time in franchise history heading into Sunday’s game
• The Sparks outscored New York 34-28 in the paint, the Liberty is now 1-3 in games where it failed to win the battle in the paint
• New York grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, one shy of its season-high, and outscored Los Angeles 20-2 in second-chance opportunities