INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Five New York players scored in double figures in the Liberty’s second loss to the Fever in the last eight days: Charles (15 points), Nurse (14 points), Durr (12 points), Zahui B (11 points) and Reshanda Gray (11 points). Han Xu added 7 points off the bench.
Tina Charles led the team with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Charles entered the game with 5455 career points, making her only 14 points away from passing Angel McCoughtry’s scoring record and placing her as 15th overall in league scoring. Her 15 point performance moved her up one spot in the record books.
The Fever jumped out 11-0 to open the first few minutes of the game. Despite outscoring the Fever 22-19, the Liberty trailed by 16 going into the second half.
* Tina Charles is now only 19 points away from becoming the Liberty’s overall leader in scoring.
* Tonight was Asia Durr’s first career start during the regular season. She scored a career-high 12 points.
* Reshanda Gray finished with one rebound shy of a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 9 boards off the bench.
* Liberty shot 34.7% from the field and 29.2% from three.
* New York outrebounded Indiana 39-31. The Liberty snagged 17 offensive rebounds in the game.
* Han Xu got her first basket of the regular season, with a deep three point shot. She finished with 7 points in 11 minutes of play.
* Despite outscoring the Fever 22-19, the Liberty trailed by 16 going into the second half.
* Kelsey Mitchell scored 14 of her game-high 23 points in the third quarter.
* All Fever players who appeared in the game scored at least 2 points.
* The Fever shot 52.3% from the field and 43.8% from three.
NEW YORK QUOTES:
Head Coach Katie Smith
“Energy wasn’t good enough and we didn’t hit shots. [Indiana] hit shots and shot 60-something percent, so the first quarter literally was the ballgame.”
“We worked on defense all week, about our help-side and being in and ball pressure and getting into players, and at spurts we did that, but as a unit for 40 minutes we were not consistent enough. At the other end, we need to put the ball in the hole. We need to put the basketball in the hole. We’re getting good shots, we have good shooters. We need to put the ball in the hole and we need to stop turning the ball over.”
On comparing the two meetings with the Fever
“For [Indiana], they were able to play another game and gain the experience from that. Other than that, the play calls change. That’s about it.”
“We started off slow. Our defense wasn’t great tonight. We missed some shots. As the game went on, we had some people come in and make some runs, get some stops. We had our spurts but we started off slow tonight.”
On playing a team twice in eight days
“It gets harder each time. The game gets faster, so we’ve got to become a better team. That’s pretty much it.”
Head Coach Pokey Chatman
“It was nice to get another W, especially at home; and especially when we had another player not available [Shenise Johnson]. We are developing a little bit of depth and that is always important. I thought it was really important that our starters stepped up early, especially on the defensive end of the floor [NY scored seven points in first quarter], and we never dropped off.”
(On limiting Tina Charles and good defense in general)
“I thought it started with Candice Dupree. She never let her get into her comfy spots on the block. And I thought our guards helped, too, by getting into the passing lanes. I don’t think we ever let them get comfortable. I think that was a key.”
(On preparing for next week’s games)
“We need to continue to work on the defensive end of the floor. What we are preaching is to stay connected to our mentality as a blue-collar type of team.”
(On getting second win on June 1; compared to July 3 last year)
“Please don’t remind me! You know, I think it stems to the sick feeling everybody went away with from here last year. I think they took that attitude with them abroad. Candice and E-dub [Erica Wheeler] both had huge seasons and successes for teams that weren’t supposed to be that competitive. We added Betnijah Laney who helps us so much with her size and defense, and Stephanie Mavunga is another player with a great year overseas. Our young players came back more mature and they all brought that attitude back with them.”
“We battled throughout the full 40 minutes. With the turning point in the second half we showed that we belong. We showed them our growth, we showed them our defense. We didn’t have any drop-offs. The people that came in the game played just as well.”
“It felt good, I felt good. I wasn’t hesitant at all in the first half, just trying to see where to take my shots, not forcing anything up. Take and see what I think I can make.”
“Just be aggressive. Keep pushing the ball down their throat. And that’s what we did. We were making shots. Playing good defense on Tina [Charles] and of course she’s going to get what she’s going to get, but we made it tough for her.”
On reaching the 1,000-point mark as a member of the Fever
“Listen, I didn’t even know. That’s amazing I just keep getting accolades each year and this is just amazing. I just keep going up and my teammates are helping me and [head coach Pokey Chatman] is helping me, so it’s just an amazing feeling.”
“That loss in Connecticut really, we didn’t play defense very well and that was our main goal, to come out and play defense and the offense would come and that’s what we did. We got in the passing lanes and that gave us a 10-0 run and it set the tone for the game. The team is ready and we played hard.”
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