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Despite Charles double-double, New York Liberty drop tough one in Minnesota (Highlights)

Despite a Tina Charles double-double, the New York Liberty drop a tough one in Minnesota prior to the WNBA All-Star Game. 

In the New York Liberty’s final game before the WNBA All-Star Game, set to be held at Target Center in Minneapolis this weekend, Tina Charles got off to a head start on the proceedings, torching the Minnesota Lynx for a double-double.

Unfortunately, like so many sterling Charles performances this season, it went for naught in the form of another Liberty loss.

Sylvia Fowles countered Charles’ game with a double-double of her own, picking up 27 points and 11 rebounds en route to an 85-82 Minnesota victory on Tuesday night.

With this loss, their fourth in a row, the Liberty (7-18) will finish with their first losing season since the 2014 season.

Lost in the chaos of another close loss, the Liberty’s seventh by six points or fewer this season, was a dominant performance from Charles, who will partake on a team captained by Candace Parker in Sunday’s showcase (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC). She tallied 32 points and 15 rebounds, the latter being a season-high.

3rd Star: Amanda Zauhi B.

Zauhi B. put on a late audition for the league’s three-point contest, which will be held at halftime of Sunday’s game. She sank a team-high three triples, including one that tied the game the game at 80. With Hartley, she teamed up to form a threatening bench duo that kept the Liberty’s lead in the second quarter and prevented things from getting out of hand in the third. Zauhi B. was second to Charles with six rebounds in addition to her 15 points.

2nd Star: Bria Hartley

Hartley has developed into a strong sixth woman for the Liberty, earning 12 points on the evening. When Minnesota took their first lead with a 9-0 run to open the third quarter, Hartley’s outside prescience kept things manageable for the Liberty. She’s reached double figures in three of her past five games.

1st Star: Tina Charles

With Liberty interior legend Rebecca Lobo in the building, Charles went blow-for-blow with Fowles. She put up 15 points and six rebounds alone in the first quarter, allowing the Liberty to build a 28-20 lead. It’s part of yet another MVP-like season for Charles, whose antics may be lost in the Liberty’s dire year. She’ll go head-to-head with Fowles once again on Sunday, as the Lynx interior prescience will partake in an opposing team captained by Washington’s Elena Delle Donne.

How It Was Decided

After Zauhi B.’s clutch triple, the Liberty were able to force Maya Moore into a miss on the other end. However, their failure to get a clutch defensive rebound came back to haunt them once more, as Moore got her own miss. An attempted steal by Brittany Boyd instead led to a foul, sending Moore to the line for a sunk two.

Sugar Rodgers’ drive went for naught, and, despite a free throw miss by Moore on the other end, the Liberty were unable to retie things up, as Hartley’s desperation three fell short at the buzzer.

Game Notes

  • With one in the first half, Kiah Stokes became the all-time leader in blocks in franchise history, breaking a tie with Sue Wicks (156 and counting).
  • Epiphanny Prince returned to the lineup, scoring four points in 11 minutes. She missed Saturday’s loss against Washington with a right eye contusion. She seemed to suffer a leg injury the fourth quarter and was carried off by Zauhi B. and Hartley.

What’s Next

After Charles partakes in the All-Star festivities, the Liberty will return to action on August 1, taking on the Connecticut Sun in Uncasville.

The two teams have dealt heartbreak to hometown fans in each of the first two meetings. Shekinna Stricklen’s four-point play as time expired gave the Sun an 88-86 win on June 7 at Westchester County Center, while Shavonte Zellous returned the favor with a banked three-pointer to kill regulation in a 79-76 Liberty win at Mohegan Sun Arena on July 11.

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