INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – JUNE 19, 2016 – The New York Liberty picked up an improbable win at Indiana, erasing a four-point deficit with fewer than 30 seconds to play, forcing overtime and then ultimately prevailing 78-75 on Sunday afternoon. Now winners of four in a row, New York (8-4) won at Indiana for the first time since 2013, snapping a six-game losing streak at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
A back-and-forth affair, New York (8-4) trailed 66-62 when Sugar Rodgers nailed an off-balance 3-point attempt to trim the Fever (5-8) lead down to one with 22.1 remaining.
After a timeout, Briann January went 1-of-2 at the line to put Indiana back up by two, and on the ensuing Liberty possession, Rodgers drew a foul along the baseline, hitting both at the line to tie the game.
Indiana called on Tamika Catchings for a last-second shot, but her attempt drew front iron, and the game headed to overtime.
Just like regulation, overtime began as a back-and-forth affair, but the Liberty executed down the stretch. After Tanisha Wright misfired on a 20-footer with 47.9 remaining, Tina Charles chased down the offensive rebound, then found Wright wide open at the free throw line for a smooth jumper to put New York on top by three.
Following another defensive stop for the Liberty, Rodgers went back to the line, where she calmly made a pair to ice the game.
Tina Charles led the Liberty with 26 points and 15 rebounds, posting her eighth double-double of the season. Tanisha Wright also scored in double figures for New York, finishing with 13 points and five assists. Rodgers scored 14 points, eight of which came in the final 30 seconds of regulation and overtime.
Charles has averaged 28.7 points in three wins for the Liberty this week and is still leading the WNBA averaging 22.0 ppg.
The Liberty trailed by just five at the half despite a slow start to the game. Indiana started strong, jumping in front 15-9 in the first period before Shavonte Zellous checked in to provide a spark off the bench, scoring a quick six points to power a Liberty comeback resulting in a 21-19 lead through 10 minutes of action.
From there, New York’s offense went cold, as the Fever opened the second period on a 13-2 run. The Liberty shot just 1-of-10 from the field with seven turnovers as Indiana built a 9-point advantage.
Wright snapped New York out of its cold streak, driving through the paint for two on a second-chance opportunity to trim the deficit down to five.
After the break, New York stepped up its defensive intensity. The Liberty held Indiana to just four points on 1-of-12 shooting in the third quarter, opening up a 55-46 lead in the process.
The Fever went the final 7:50 of the third without scoring a point, and endured a scoreless drought of 8:57 between the 3rd and 4th quarters, missing 10 straight field goal attempts with seven turnovers.
However, Indiana bounced back with an 8-0 run in the fourth and led by as many as four down the stretch before the Liberty comeback. That was partly fueled by another strong series of defensive stops; New York limited Indiana to just one field goal over the final 5:43.
The Liberty wraps up its three-game road swing against the Atlanta Dream on Wednesday afternoon. Tipoff is scheduled for 12 p.m.
• The Liberty held the Fever without a point for the final 7:50 of the 3rd quarter and a total of 8:57 from the 3rd into the 4th, going on a 13-0 run over that stretch. Indiana missed 10-straight field goals and turned the ball over 7 times. Indiana scored just four points in the 3rd quarter.
• Tina Charles recorded her eighth double-double of the season. Charles is averaging 28.6 points over the last three games and now leads the WNBA in scoring with 22.0 ppg.
• The Liberty snapped a six-game losing streak at Bankers Life Fieldhouse dating back to 2013 and has now won four in a row for the first time this season.
• Sugar Rodgers nailed an off-balance a 3-pointer with 22.1 remaining to cut the Indiana lead down to one then hit two at the line on the next New York possession to tie the game. Rodgers scored eight of her 14 points in the last 23 seconds of regulation and overtime.
• Kiah Stokes pulled won a career-high 14 rebounds.
• Tina Charles continues to lead the Liberty in assists, with six more on Sunday afternoon.