LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – JULY 22, 2015 – On the second game of a back-to-back on the tail end of a three-game, five-day road trip, the Liberty gritted out a 59-53 win over the Los Angeles Sparks at Staples Center on Wednesday night, to go 3-0 on its west coast road trip, and add a victory to its five game win streak – the first since 2010.
The Liberty out rebounded the Sparks on the offensive glass 19-3 in the final game before the All-Star break , earning 16 second chance points against Los Angeles’ slim four. In an off shooting night and low scoring game for the Liberty, that hustle on the boards was just what it needed to put together enough plays to grab a victory.
The Liberty scored a season low 59 points and the Sparks shot just a little bit better, 20-of-63 for 31-percent from the field. Yet New York went to the free throw line 34 times, sinking 25 of them, which proved the difference in scoring.
Kristi Toliver made the game interesting late, hitting a 3-pointer, the first of the game for either team, with 22.4 seconds remaining, to bring the Sparks within three points. But then Coach Laimbeer subbed in his veteran, Tanisha Wright, who was fouled immediately on the ensuring front court inbounds, and iced both free throws to put the game out of reach.
Epiphanny Prince has now scored in double figures in all of her seven games with the Liberty, adding 13 tonight. She had 10 of her points in the fourth quarter, and was perfect from the line, hitting 7-of-7. Prince made a pretty move to the basket in traffic and extended the New York lead to nine points, its largest of the game, 47-39 with 5:48 to go in the final period of play.
Los Angeles came out with a spark in the third quarter, going on a 7-2 run to start the second half. A layup in traffic by Nneka Ogumike brought the Liberty lead down to just 2 with 2:17 to play before Warley-Talbert extended the lead to four with a pair of free throws.
After an even first quarter, the Liberty started to get into more of a groove in the second. It took the first lead on an Warley Talbert aggressive put back on the offensive end and never gave it back. Los Angeles tied the game up twice, but New York ran away with it, ending the last 5:31 of the quarter on a 9-2 run, capped off by a tip in by Kiah Stokes on a missed free throw by Tina Charles, and a pair of Essence Carson free throws.
New York held Los Angeles to just 31.0 percent from the field in the first half and forced nine turnovers, which led directly to 10 points the other way. Once again the Liberty’s depth was on full display, with 21 of the 31 first half points coming from the second unit.
Despite starting the game shooting just 1-of-9, New York never trailed by more than five during the first quarter of action, as the Liberty’s defense kept them close, forcing Los Angeles into committing five turnovers.
The Sparks’ lead reached five following two Ana Dabovic free throws, but consecutive jumpers from Stokes and Charles provided the answer for New York. Essence Carson knotted the score at 14-14 before the end of the period.
NEW YORK LIBERTY POST GAME NOTES
- The Liberty have now won five games in a row for the first time since Aug. 6, 2010.
- New York continues to build on its best start since 2001, entering the All-Star break with a 12-5 record. In 2001 New York started 16-5.
- Epiphanny Prince has scored in double figures in all seven games since making her season debut on July 9.
- New York is now 2-1 this season in the second game of a back-to-back.
- The Liberty had 19 offensive rebounds compared to 3 for the Sparks, resulting in 16 second chance points to an LA’s 4.
- New York sweeps the season series with LA for the first time since 2010.
- There was not a three-pointer in this game until Kristi Tolliver’s long ball at the 25 second mark of the fourth quarter.
- Tina Charles recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 14 points and 14 rebounds. She will play in the All-Star game in Connecticut on Saturday at 3:30 PM on ABC.
- The Liberty bench outscored the Sparks bench 30-6.