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New York Liberty: Coleman’s clutch three secures close win (Highlights)

The dramatic New York Liberty wound up on the right side of a game-winning triple on Sunday, as Marissa Coleman’s heroics led to a win.

It was deja vu all over again for the New York Liberty on Sunday, as their game at Westchester County Center was decided by yet another game-winning three-pointer.

This time, however, the winning score went in their favor.

Marissa Coleman closed out scoring with a victorious triple with 15 seconds to go, giving the Liberty a 78-75 lead they would not relinquish to the Indiana Fever. The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Liberty, who have now defeated the Fever twice this season.

With Tina Charles held mostly in check (13 points on 4-of-15 shooting), the Liberty enjoyed contributions from their unsung heroines, enjoying 32 points off the bench, including a season-high 16 from Sugar Rodgers and 10 more from Kia Nurse.

Three Stars

3rd Star: Marissa Coleman

Sunday featured a bit of deja vu for Coleman. On Thursday night, she put in a contested layup that put the Liberty (3-4) ahead of the Eastern Conference-leading Connecticut Sun. The relief, however, was short-lived, as Shekinna Stricklen beat the clock with an improbable four-point play to silence White Plains. Subbing late in the game, however, Coleman gained redemption, sinking a triple as the shot clock expired to close the scoring for the game. She closed the afternoon with seven points.

“We really needed this win. We didn’t want to be the team to give Indiana their first win,” Coleman said. “So it definitely felt good, and that was a heartbreaker against Connecticut. For us to be on the other end, it feels good.”

2nd Star: Bria Hartley

Redemption was also in store for Hartley, who missed a free throw that could’ve put the Liberty up three on Thursday. She wrapped up the weekend by becoming the Liberty’s go-to girl down the stretch, scoring seven straight points to prevent the Fever from pulling away. Her fourth quarter heroics did not go unnoticed.

1st Star: Sugar Rodgers

Rodgers has been one of the many New Yorkers afflicted with injuries this season due to a left knee sprain keeping her out of three games. She only played 18 minutes over the prior two games, but returned with a vengeance on Sunday, tallying a season-high 16 points. A sequence in the final quarter set the Liberty up for the win, as she gave New York their highest lead of the game at seven.

What Decided It

With their first seven games decided by a total of 30 points, the Liberty’s flair for the dramatics wound up in their favor once more. Off a pass from Kia Nurse (who added 10 more points off the bench), Coleman sank her victorious triple, sending White Plains into a frenzy. Strong defense on the other end of the court forced an airball in retaliation from the Fever (0-8), and Shavonte Zellous got the rebound to help the Liberty close things out.

What’s Next

The Liberty conclude a four-game homestand on Wednesday night, as they welcome in the Las Vegas Aces (7:00 PM, MSG+/ESPN3). It will mark a homecoming for Aces head coach, Bill Laimbeer when he returns to New York. The former NBA All-Star spent the previous five seasons as the head coach of the Liberty, guiding them to the best record in the Eastern Conference over the past three years.

“I know (2018 WNBA Draft first overall pick) A’ja Wilson has had an incredible year, leading the rookies in scoring,” Charles noted. “Me playing under Bill Laimbeer, I know that she’s definitely going to thrive underneath him and they’re definitely a team looking for wins. I know Bill vs (current Liberty head coach and ex-Laimbeer assistant) Katie Smith is going to great, strategy-wise, so we’re looking forward to it.”

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