The New York Liberty lost a tightly contested back-and-forth contest on the road to the Washington Mystics on Saturday night at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., 67-62.
Neither team led by more than six in a game that saw 15 ties and 17 lead changes. Tina Charles led all scorers with 18 points to go along with eight boards. She was one of three Liberty players to score in double figures; Carolyn Swords came off the bench to finish with 11 on 5-of-5 shooting, and Tanisha Wright had 10.
New York trailed 51-47 heading into the fourth quarter, but opened the final period on a 7-0 run to seize the momentum. Charles drained a fadeaway-baseline jumper to give the Libs a 52-51 lead, and two minutes later she struck again, banking in a shot to make it 54-51.
Ivory Latta answered with a triple for the first of four ties over the final six minutes of action, but the Liberty would never regain the lead. Kara Lawson was big down the stretch for the Mystics. A 16-foot runner at 1:43 gave Washington a four-point lead, and after the Liberty came back to tie things at 62-62, she struck again, nailing a turnaround jumper to give the Mystics the lead for good.
Swords scored nine of her 11 points in the first half, helping New York secure at 33-32 lead through two quarters. She capped off her impressive start by completing a three-point play with fewer than 30 second remaining in the first, taking a feed from Charles and finishing strong as she was fouled.
New York shot just 36.7 percent and turned the ball over 18 times. While the turnovers themselves did not directly lead to Washington buckets on the other end, the shot attempt differential did. The Mystics only scored 10 points off turnovers but had 11 more shot attempts, which made up for a 17-11 disparity at the stripe.
Emma Meesseman led Washington with 16 points, 10 of which came in the second half. Latta was the only other player in double figures for the Mystics, finishing with 10.
New York returns to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, June 9, when it hosts the Indiana Fever. Tip off is at 7 p.m.