WHITE PLAINS, NY- The New York Liberty only trailed the Aces in the first quarter before gaining and maintaining the lead en route to an 88-78 home win over Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon. The team’s first win of the season improved the Liberty record to 1-4, dropping the Dream to 2-3.
The Liberty ended the first quarter trailing the Aces 19-22. When New York cut the Aces lead to one point with less than one minute into the 2nd quarter, the team never looked back. New York’s 10-4 run to open the second quarter propelled the team to outscore the Aces 45-37 in the first half.
Tina Charles recorded her fourth consecutive 20+ point home game today, scoring a team-high 21 points and adding 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
Bria Hartley made her debut in the starting lineup, scoring a season-high 17 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in the team’s first win.
Tina Charles recorded her fourth consecutive 20+ point home game today against Las Vegas, finishing with 21.
Tanisha Wright scored her first points of the season against the Aces, finishing with 8 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Bria Hartley was the team’s second-leading scorer with a season-high 17 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds. Hartley leaves for Eurobasket tomorrow (Monday, June 10) and will return when her commitment has ended.
Kia Nurse also added 15 points to the Liberty effort.
New York shot 39.5% from the field and 23.1% from the three-point line.
The Liberty outrebounded the Aces, 46-42.
For the first time this season, the Liberty turned the ball over less than 10 times, finishing the game with only 9. New York forced Las Vegas into 12 turnovers during the game.
Kayla McBride scored a game and season-high 25 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Liz Cambage also scored a season high 15 points and 10 rebounds in her first double-double of the season.
Las Vegas shot 35.4% from the field and 30.8% from the three-point line.
NEW YORK QUOTES:
Head Coach Katie Smith on Liberty Turnovers “We have goals, and our goal is 13 turnovers and we had only 10 today with the loose ball one. We can’t have possessions off; we don’t shoot the ball extremely well all the time so we need possessions we can’t allow those to go away. We’ll keep harping on it but today was a good day, it matters, and it helped us get this win.”
Coach Katie Smith on Team Energy “From start to finish this game, I think for me, and for our crew, was one of the best energy, one of the best executions, one of the best teams…I’m proud of those who have been here this whole time, I’m proud of the ones that are here bringing it every day…every day they show up ready to go.”
Coach Katie Smith on Point Distribution “[Tina] does draw a lot of attention and she always needs to be aggressive, but we also need other people to be able to get their own shots, to knock down shots when they’re doubling and leaving other players and I thought everyone, including Tina, was able to find other people who got good looks and were able to put them in the hole.”
Coach Katie Smith on Kia Nurse “She’s somebody we’re always gonna rely on, on the defensive end and keep challenging her to also get better at it and depending on who she’s guarding…but I thought she was solid, she flies around, she’s gonna always compete and at the end of the day we love that.”
Tina Charles on the win “We always had confidence… It’s just about how we close out the game. Most of the games we lost we have been in. I am just happy we were able to come out with the victory”.
Charles on the lead changes “Being able to get stops… being able to score on the other end. Having Tanisha Wright on the other end really helped us a lot. Having her (Tanisha Wright) controlled the tempo and when to set up a play and when to push the ball.”
Bria Hartley on the win.
“It was really important we lost a couple of close ones (games)”. We (team) wanted to get over that hump and get our first win.”
Hartley on the team responding to the Aces run.
“That is just the game of basketball teams are going on their runs and you have to be able to with stand them. We made shots and stops when we needed to. We were able to limit their offense rebounding and go on a run.”
Hartley on team preparing for next opponent “We just want to build on this… we have had great energy and intensity going into these last couple of games and we want to carry these on into the next one.”
LAS VEGAS QUOTES:
Coach Bill Laimbeer on today’s loss “New York played a very fun basketball game. They wanted this win more than we wanted it, that was the bottom line. We didn’t come out with the energy and intensity from the start. We got down 16 then we started to really play. We need to understand how hard we need to play in this league every day and we will be ok. Until then we will be like this. But we’re still learning and we’re still young so I can’t be overly pissed off.”
Coach Laimbeer on Tina Charles “Tina is a phenomenal basketball player. She’s gonna keep winning the game. She’ll keep them in the game. She enhances her performance every year. She gives her team the chance to win the game.”
Coach Laimbeer on Aja Wilson “We have to get Aja on track. Tina really took it for her today. Tina was physical with her today and took her out the basketball game. Aja has to work on her individual game. It came so easy for her last year. I told her this season she has to do something different.”
Coach Laimbeer on Liberty Shooters “They really got some shooters. Nurse is a capable shooter from the perimeter. Overall Zahui is getting the opportunity to play, which is something she always wanted. So on that end they have some good shooters on their team. Not sure where Asia Durr was. I didn’t see her tonight but she’s good as well.”
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