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New York Liberty on wrong end of game, history vs. Elizabeth Cambage’s Wings (Highlights)

Elizabeth Cambage’s ultimate triumph came at the New York Liberty’s expense, as they were the victims of her league-record 53 points.

A historic day for women’s basketball came at the expense of one its premier franchises, the New York Liberty.

Elizabeth Cambage set a WNBA record with 53 points, adding 10 rebounds and five blocks to her momentous day, leading her Dallas Wings to a 104-87 win over the Liberty on Tuesday afternoon. Her scoring tally breaks a record previously held by Riquna Williams, who put in 51 points for the Wings’ previous incarnation, the Tulsa Shock, in September 2013.

Lost in the wake Cambage’s history was a heartbroken Liberty team, who saw a furious third-quarter rally go for naught. Entering the afternoon with their first winning streak since early June, the Liberty (7-15) enjoyed the resurgence of rookie Kia Nurse, who led the way with 25 points.

However, a brutal fourth quarter, which saw Cambage complete her quest by scoring 20 of Dallas’ 30 points, doomed New York to yet another loss, dropping them five games back of the final WNBA playoff spot.

3rd Star: Bria Hartley

Removed from the starting lineup in favor of Brittany Boyd, Hartley earned praise for her performance off the bench on Sunday, and she kept up the good pace on Tuesday. Though she tallied five fouls in an aggressive game, she picked up 14 points, six of which came on crucial triples that helped key the Liberty’s second-half comeback.

With Boyd back in the starting five, Hartley has taken over her role as the reserve stud, adding five rebounds, four assists and a steal.

2nd Star: Tina Charles

The season has been a historic one for Charles, who has moved her way up the all-time WNBA scoring list. She continued to do so on Tuesday, albeit on a local level, as her 19 points tied her for second on the all-time Liberty scoring list with Cappie Pondexter (2,970).

Charles is expected to be one of the league’s All-Star representatives in Minnesota, set to be held on July 28. Rosters will be announced on Tuesday during the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter.

1st Star: Kia Nurse

Over the past six games, Nurse played just over 11 minutes per game. Finally granted extended playing time on Tuesday, she made the most of her opportunity, pacing the team with 25 points, her first double-digit game since the June 22 visit to Vegas.

Though she fell nine short of her career-high in scoring, she did manage to score four triples for a new personal best in helping the Liberty make their comeback. If the Liberty are to make a last-second playoff push, expanding Nurse’s minutes may be a potential difference.

How It Was Decided

It was almost deja vu all over again for the Liberty. On May 29 in White Plains, they overcame a 17-point deficit to top the Wings, earning their first win of the season. Deja vu did strike, but, this time, the fortunes were reversed.

Dallas led by as much as 19 in the first half, but the Liberty, paced by healthy doses of Nurse and Hartley outside shooting, chopped the lead down, and even briefly took the lead. The effort, however, was for naught, thanks to a Cambage take over. Earning 28 of her historic tally in the first half, she was limited to only five in the third as the Liberty cracked down. But in scoring two-thirds of the Wings’ fourth-quarter haul, she rebuilt the lead and forever entered the league record books.

Game Notes

  • Marissa Coleman (right ankle sprain) dressed for the first time in nine games, but did not play.
  • Wings head coach Fred Williams was ejected from the game with two technical fouls in the third quarter for arguing calls. Assistant coach Taj McWilliams-Franklin took over.
  • Williams’ pair accounted for two of the five technicals on the day. Dallas added one more, as Skylar Diggins-Smith argued a fourth-quarter foul, while the Liberty saw Nurse and Shavonte Zellous penalized.

What’s Next

The Liberty will try to get back on track on Thursday night, completing a two-game road trip in Atlanta to take on the Dream (7:00 p.m. ET, MSG+). They’re 1-0 against their Eastern Conference rivals this season, having won 79-72 at Westchester County Center on June 19. Despite a career-high 39 from Angel McCoughtry, the Liberty prevailed with three double figures, led by Charles’ 29.

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