New York Liberty
(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Liberty held their own against another elite opponent, but once again fell just short, dropping their 10th straight game.

If moral victories counted for the New York Liberty, they’d be among those fighting for seeding in the 2018 WNBA playoffs.

Alas, the only wins that count in the standings come exclusively from the scoreboard, and the Liberty have come up short on that end in 10 consecutive games.

Surviving an injury scare, Chelsea Gray nonetheless led the way with a career-high 26 points for the Los Angeles Sparks, leading them to a 74-66 victory on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

Tina Charles led the way for the Liberty (7-24) with 21 points, while Kia Vaughn earned 11 points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Los Angeles, who enjoyed a double-double from Candace Parker (14 points, 10 rebounds), remained in the hunt for a first-round bye, currently tied with the Connecticut Sun for fourth place in the league standings.

3rd Star: Bria Hartley

One of just three players available on the bench for the Liberty, Hartley went 26 minutes in relief. She reached double figures for the second consecutive game, accomplishing that for the first time since July 15-17, and also had a strong inside presence with six rebounds.

2nd Star: Kia Vaughn

The Liberty were missing four players due to injuries once again, limiting them to eight players. Vaughn has been dealing with an ankle ailment of her own, but managed to be a strong inside presence on Tuesday, tallying 11 points and eight rebounds. Vaughn’s persistence, which has kept her in the starting five, has been one of several silver linings in this season gone horribly awry.

1st Star: Tina Charles

Charles got off to another hot start, pacing the Liberty to an early first-half lead with 16 points in the first two frames. Unlike Sunday’s home finale against Atlanta, Charles didn’t have to play all 40 minutes, getting a rest in the second quarter. She still led the way in time on the court with 37 minutes, adding seven rebounds and three assists to her scoring efforts.

How It Was Decided

Gray led the way for the hometown Sparks, playing their final home game of the regular season. Los Angeles took a collective breath at the end of the first half, when a collision between Gray and Brittany Boyd left the former in an injured heap. She went to the locker room early, but returned to start the third quarter.

In the end, with the Liberty keeping things within a possession, it was Gray’s sharp-shooting, including a late dagger that put Los Angeles up six, that doomed the Liberty to their tenth consecutive defeat.

Game Notes

  • The Liberty were reduced to eight players once again, as Shavonte Zellous (ankle), Marissa Coleman (ankle), Epiphanny Prince (knee), and Amanda Zauhi B. (hip) were all out due to injuries.
  • With their 24th loss, the Liberty set an unfortunate new single-season record. They previously lost 23 in 2006 and 2013.

What's Next

The Liberty continue their season-ending road trip with a back-to-back, taking on former coach Bill Laimbeer and the Las Vegas Aces for the final time this season (10:00 p.m. ET, MSG+/NBATV). The Aces, currently a half-game behind Dallas for the final WNBA playoff spot, have won the first two meetings, including a nationally televised 88-78 win back on June 22.

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