PHOENIX – A six-day road trip proved to be exactly what New York needed to gain momentum this season. The team ended the trip with an 80-76 victory against the Phoenix Mercury. Both teams entered the game riding three-game winning streaks, but with the win, New York improved to 7-7 tonight, the team’s first four-game winning streak since the 2017 season.
In the first quarter, New York shot 46.7% from the field while Phoenix shot 62.5% from the field. New York was forced to call a timeout at the 5:16 mark in the first quarter after Phoenix opened the game on a 15-4 run.
A three-pointer by Tiffany Bias with 2:55 left in the first half, cut the Mercury lead to single digits for the first time since the first couple of minutes of the game. The Liberty tied the game at 1:33 thanks to a short jumper by Kia Nurse. Essence Carson hit a three-point shot to help the Mercury regain the lead, but her shot was immediately answered with a three by Kia Nurse.
To end the second quarter, both teams shot a pair of free throws. For the Mercury, Griner made 2-2. For New York, Warley-Talbert made 1-2, giving the Mercury a one-point lead headed into the half. The Mercury led by as many as 13 in the first half.
Sharp three-point shooting kept the teams close in the third quarter. A three by Bonner with one-minute left in the quarter gave Phoenix their one-point lead back. Two free throws by Essence Carson with 24 seconds left in the third gave the Mercury a 64-61 lead. A wide-open layup for rookie Asia Durr helped the Liberty end the quarter down by one.
Reshanda Gray got into foul trouble ending the third quarter, picking up her fifth foul.
Phoenix Veteran, DeWanna Bonner opened the fourth quarter making two free-throws. It was immediately followed by an and one by Tina Charles.
The game was tied at 76 with 1:33 left in the fourth quarter. Out of a Liberty time out, New York got a defensive stop and Tina Charles scored a two-point jumper to give New York a two-point lead.
A New York turnover with 10 seconds left in the game forced the Liberty to hand the ball back over to the Mercury. After a Phoenix time out, Brittney Griner missed a baseline jumper to help New York maintain their lead with 5.3 seconds left in the game.
Veteran guard Tanisha Wright made two free-throws with 2.7 seconds left in the game to give the Liberty a four-point lead, which the team maintained for the victory.
UP NEXT: The Liberty head home to New York to face the Las Vegas Aces for the third and final time this season. The two teams have split wins in their first two meetings. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 7 at Westchester County Center.\
- New York’s scoring was led by Kia Nurse, who had 26 points on 72.7% (8-11) from the field and 66.7% from the three-point line.
- Kia Nurse scored 17 first-half points, 12 of which came in the second quarter. She shot 85.7% (6-7) from the field AND 75% (3-4) from the three-point line.
- Tina Charles scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the victory. Charles recorded her fourth 20-plus point game in the last five games.
- Nurse has scored 20-plus points for the second consecutive game.
- Tina Charles entered the game with 2990 rebounds and surpassed the 3000 rebound mark, finishing with 12 on the night.
- Reshanda Gray has snagged 10 rebounds tonight. She has had 10 or more boards in the last three of four games.
- Rookie guard Asia Durr also added 10 points on the night with 45.5% (5-11) shooting from the field.
- The Liberty outrebounded the Mercury 35-27 and scored 38 points in the paint compared to their 26.
- The team shot 47.6% from the field and 43.8% from three on the night.
- Before tonight, New York had lost four in a row against Phoenix.