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Charles, Liberty forced to deal with more Delle Donne fireworks in DC (Highlights)

Despite a double-double and more history from Tina Charles, the New York Liberty’s brutal fourth quarter sent them to yet another loss in DC.

To open the second half of the schedule, the New York Liberty kept Elena Delle Donne in check, enjoyed an early double-double from Tina Charles, and overall kept pace with the Eastern Conference-leading Washington Mystics for a majority of Thursday night’s game.

In a trope that’s haunted the Liberty far too often this season, however, giving up points in bunches came back to bite them in the final stages, dooming them to yet another painful loss.

Four Mystics players reached double figures, paced by Delle Donne’s 21, as she spearheaded a 22-8 run in the final frame, and the Mystics needed no miracles to earn an 86-67 victory at Capital One Arena.

The Liberty (5-13) fell to the Mystics (11-6) for the second time this season, following Delle Donne’s buzzer beater exactly one week ago. Winners of five of their past six, Washington continues to pace the Eastern Conference and improved to 8-1 against conference foes this season.

3rd Star: Brittany Boyd

For the second consecutive game, Boyd ended a third quarter with a buzzer beater, giving New York a manageable five-point deficit to work with before everything went belly-up. She likewise continued to force her way into the rebounding box score, muscling her way to four rebounds.

2nd Star: Epiphanny Prince

After posting back-to-back games of at least 20 points, including last week’s original visit to Washington, Prince fell back to Earth, but regained some of her spark on Thursday. Her trio of field goals all came from trio range, shooting 3-for-7 from three-point land. A pair of free throw netted her 11 points, making her the only other New Yorker to reach double figures.

1st Star: Tina Charles

After she was sentenced to single digits for the first time this season on Tuesday night, Charles returned to form on Thursday, picking up 26 points and 12 rebounds, seven alone on the offensive end. Unfortunately for Charles, while keeping the Liberty afloat, she failed to get the necessary help, as by the time Prince joined her in double figures, the game was well out of hand.

How It Was Decided

Through the first three frames, the MVP-contending Delle Donne was mostly neutralized, limited to just three points in the middle frames, as well as 4-of-14 shooting. Her prowess allowed her to shift the momentum firmly into Washington’s side in the end, outpacing the Liberty on her own by a 9-8 advantage. Kristi Toliver nailed some clutch outside shots, while Tianna Hawkins handled things on the inside off the bench, as Washington wrapped up their win in style.

Game Notes

  • Marissa Coleman (right ankle sprain) missed her sixth consecutive game.
  • With a 24-22 advantage, the Liberty led after the first quarter for the fourth consecutive game. However, they’ve failed to capitalize on that momentum, as they’re 1-3 in that stretch.
  • Charles made more history, as she moved up another spot on the WNBA’s all-time scoring list, passing Swin Cash for 16th all-time, ending the game with 5,128. Cash, currently the Director of Franchise Development for the Liberty, played 15 seasons in the league, including her final three with the Liberty. She and Charles have played together on both New York and the United States national team.

What’s Next

The Liberty will next take on the Dallas Wings for a Sunday matinee at Westchester County Center (3:00 PM, MSG). They earned a win in Dallas’ first visit to New York this season, coming back from a 17-point deficit en route to a 94-89 victory.

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