New York Liberty: WNBA-best Storm pummel in penultimate 2018 game

 

The New York Liberty’s season is almost over, capped by an unfortunate performances against the dominant Seattle Storm.

The New York Liberty figured into the WNBA playoff picture under the least ideal circumstances.


With an 85-77 win over the reeling Liberty, the Seattle Storm, paced by a double-double from Breanna Stewart, clinched homecourt advantage throughout the WNBA playoffs, as her 22 points and 15 rebounds served as the driving force.

The Liberty (7-26), undermanned once more by a crowded injury report, once again held tough with elite competition, even holding a small lead in the second half. After a single game absence, Tina Charles returned to the New York lineup with a vengeance, reaching 21 points in yet another unfortunate defeat, the team’s 11th in a row.

3rd Star: Sugar Rodgers

Though things slipped away from the Liberty in the fourth quarter, Rodgers put on a three-point shooting clinic, sinking four late in the frame to keep the score respectful. She also contributed with five rebounds and three assists.

2nd Star: Tina Charles

A late scratch for Wednesday’s game against Las Vegas with back spasms, Charles returned after missing her first game since July 2016. Ever the trooper, she returned to massive minutes, playing 33 and scoring 21 points on 10-of-16 shooting. She was one of three Liberty participants to play at least 29 minutes.

1st Star: Kiah Stokes

Stokes served as a dominant prescence on the inside, earning her first double-double since August 27, 2016. In her efforts, she picked up 10 points and 15 rebounds, both season-highs. To top it all off, Stokes made a little bit of New York history with a rebound off a free throw toward the end of the first half. With her seventh grab of the game, Stokes passed Liberty legend Teresa Weatherspoon for sixth all-time on the team’s rebounding list.

How It Was Decided

The Liberty fell behind quickly, but forced 11 Seattle turnovers in the first half, earning back 15 points as they cut the halftime deficit to a mere three. They even took the lead in the third quarter, but Seattle’s outside shooting came up huge. Most impressive in the rally was Stewart, as she reached the 22-point plateau on a mere eight shot attempts. Seattle went ahead by as much as 15, as KeyArena, set to be closed for renovations after the season, saluted the Storm (25-8), who have clinched their best record since their last WNBA title in 2010.

Game Notes

  • Shavonte Zellous (ankle), Epiphanny Prince (ankle), Amanda Zahui B. (hip), and Kia Vaughn (quad) all missed the game with injuries.
  • This marked the Storm’s first sweep of the Liberty since their championship season in 2010.
  • With a Stewart three-pointer in the first quarter, their 284th of the year, the Storm set a new WNBA record for most triples in a single season.

What’s Next

The Liberty will head to Phoenix for their final game of the season, taking on the Phoenix Mercury to wrap things up on Sunday (6:00 pm ET, MSG+). This will be the Liberty’s first visit to Arizona all season, with the Mercury winning the first two matchups on the road, splitting victories between Westchester County Center and Madison Square Garden.

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