NEW YORK, N.Y. – SEPTEMBER 18, 2015 – The top-seeded New York Liberty was edged in double overtime by the Washington Mystics, 86-83, in Game One of the WNBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Liberty now trails in the best-of-three series 1-0, and will face a must-win in game two at Washington on Sunday afternoon. Tipoff will be at 1 p.m., and the game will air on ESPN.
Twice on Friday night it looked like New York would be able to pull out a win, in a tightly contested contest that featured 23 lead changes and 14 ties. The game was so close, that once the fourth quarter began, there were only two occasions when either team led by more than one possession.
In the fourth, Tina Charles took over down the stretch, driving to the basket for a 3-point play with 56 seconds remaining to give the Liberty a 67-66 lead. Following a Kara Lawson miss, Charles struck again, putting New York in front by three, only to see Ivory Latta drain a 3-pointer with 27.9 remaining to force overtime.
Again in the first overtime period, victory appeared to be within reach for the Liberty. Another Latta triple gave the Mystics a 72-71 lead, before Tanisha Wright buried a 20-footer. On the next possession Prince hit to make it a 3-point game, and the lead reached four as Cash hit 1-of-2 at the line with 46 seconds to play.
The resilient Mystics pulled within two on a pair of Tayler Hill makes at the line and then after a Charles misfire, Lawson drove base line and dished to Emma Meesseman in the paint for the game-tying layup with 1.6 to play.
Wright opened the second OT with a corner three, but Washington scored nine of the next 10 points to open an 85-80 lead, holding on to win by three.
Prince scored a game-high 26 points and hit three 3-pointers. Charles finished with 22 points, Wright added 13 and Cash tallied 10.
Washington was led by Latta’s 15 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range. The Mystics capitalized on 18 Liberty turnovers to win the points off turnovers battle 17-4, and Washington outdueled the Liberty in the paint, 36-26.
New York Liberty Postgame Notes
- New York entered the game averaging 27.5 bench points per game but got a season-low six on Friday; the previous season low was 13.
- The Liberty was outscored in the paint 36-26, just the third time this season New York has been outdueled in the paint.
- This was New York’s second-ever playoff overtime game, the last was a 71-70 loss at Detroit in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Aug. 28, 2007.
- This was the second overtime game this year between New York and Washington; the Liberty won 79-76 in overtime at Washington on July 9.
- The Mystics have won 4-of-5 meetings against New York this season.
- New York is now 16-11 all-time in Playoff home games.
- This was the first WNBA Playoff game at Madison Square Garden since Sept. 1, 2010.
- Washington shot 19-of-24 from the line while the Liberty was just 16-of-26.
- New York turned the ball over 18 times, which led to 17 points, the Mystics committed just 11 turnovers.