Vegas
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for MGM Resorts International)

Tina Charles became the 19th players in WNBA history to reach 5,000 points, but that couldn’t prevent another loss to Bill Laimbeer’s Aces.

On Friday night, the New York Liberty learned the hard way that, in Vegas, the game always seems to favor the house.

Tina Charles made history, becoming the 19th player in WNBA history to reach 5,000 points, but failed to create another comeback, as the Liberty (4-7) fell to the Las Vegas Aces for the second time this season, defeated by ex-head coach Bill Laimbeer by an 88-78 final.

“It’s frustrating,” Liberty head coach Katie Smith said in a team press release. “We have a two-time Olympian and MVP who led the league in scoring some years (Charles) and she’s driving hard and shoots zero free throws. We’re going to put our heads down and keep playing hard, but we have to do it with more consistency through the 40 minutes.”


For Las Vegas (5-9), A’ja Wilson had a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Kayla McBride led all scorers with 27 points.

Other NYC Teams

The Liberty struggled mightily in the first half, shooting just 23 percent (10-of-43) from the field, which included 1-of-10 from three-point range and 2-of-11 from Charles. While the second half featured another near-New York comeback, as well as Charles’ historic three-pointer, the Liberty were unable to contain McBride and Wilson.

The latter, the top overall pick in April’s WNBA Draft, continued to make her case for an All-Star bid, recovering from a 13-point showing on June 13 in White Plains, a 78-63 Aces win.

New York Liberty fall in Vegas despite history from Charles (Highlights)3rd Star: Kia Nurse

Despite not putting up the type of numbers Wilson has, Nurse, the 10th overall pick in April’s proceedings, has posted respectable numbers in her debut season, currently ranking fourth in rookie points per game. She managed to reach double figures with 13 points, improving her accuracy to 4-of-6 shooting, making some key baskets late to keep the game close.

New York Liberty fall in Vegas despite history from Charles (Highlights)2nd Star: Tina Charles

The first half was yet another tough going for Charles, whose struggles contributed to a 34-26 halftime deficit. Once she managed to get things going, however, the Liberty were able to keep pace until the very end. Though the night will be commemorated by his historic triple, Charles should much be commended for her defense.

The Liberty allowed Wilson to do most of her damage in the first half when she matched her 13-point total from the first meeting and got to the foul line often, but she cooled down once Charles was put in charge of defending her, limited to two field goals in the second half.

New York Liberty fall in Vegas despite history from Charles (Highlights)1st Star: Amanda Zauhi B. 

Zauhi B. came off the bench to lead the spirited Liberty comeback, her impact felt most at the end of the third quarter. Her buzzer-beating jumper as time expired create a two-point game and gave Zauhi B. 12 points in just under six minutes at the time.

Best known for her work in the paint, Zauhi B. has been a hidden gem from the outside. After hitting just two three-pointers all year last season, she already has five on the year so far, including two alone on Friday.

How It Was Decided

The fourth quarter was a tantalizing disappointment for New York, as they tied it three different times, and came within one on three other occasions. But after holding the Aces in check for a majority of the game shooting-wise, the Liberty gave up an unacceptable 34 points in the frame with McBride and Wilson combining for 18 and the Aces shooting 58 percent as a team in the frame.

It marks yet another fourth-quarter disappointment for the Liberty, who now have to face two of the league’s top teams to avoid sinking further in the non-playoff abyss.

Game Notes

  • Shavonte Zellous (illness) was a late scratch to the lineup. Sugar Rodgers (10 points) took her place in the starting five, making her second start of the season.
  • Charles needs 12 points to pass Taj McWilliams-Franklin for 18th on the WNBA’s all-time scorers’ list.
  • The Liberty scored just 26 points in the first half, their lowest output in any half so far this season.
  • The Liberty will get one more chance to earn a win against the Aces on August 15 in Nevada.

What’s Next

The Liberty will wrap up a brief West Coast swing on late Sunday afternoon when they take on the Los Angeles Sparks (5:00 PM, MSG+). Los Angeles will likewise be coming off a loss on the road, as they were crushed 101-72 by the Dallas Wings on Friday.

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