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Slow start dooms New York Liberty after 8-day layoff (Highlights)

The New York Liberty’s loss to the Indiana Fever didn’t require last-second dramatics this time, as they trailed from the start in a blowout.

The New York Liberty were forced to trade in last-second despair for bleakness right from the start.

The Indiana Fever opened up Saturday’s game on an 11-0 run and never looked back in a 92-77 final. It was their second win over New York in eight days. Indiana (2-1) previously won at Westchester County Center last Friday night through a game-winner from Teaira McCowan. The Liberty had not played since the heartbreaker.

Such dramatics were unnecessary at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Fever dominated from the get-go, leading 26-7 after the first quarter. New York (0-2) did score a personal victory in the second quarter, winning the frame 22-19. They even managed to trim the lead down to 12 in the opening stages of the second half.

A relentless Indiana shooting performance stifled any hopes of a comeback. The charge was led by the outside antics of Kelsey Mitchell, who sank five triples in a 23-point performance. Defensively, the Fever snuffed out potentially New York uprisings with relentless pressure.

The Liberty shot just 34 percent (26-for-75) for the game, including 29 percent from three-point range (7-for-24). The combined guard trio of Brittany Boyd, Bria Hartley, and Rebecca Allen was forced into an 0-for-16 night from the field.

The loss took the focus off of some personal history for Liberty rookies. Second overall pick Asia Durr made her first professional start in her second career game. She was one of five Liberty players to reach double figures with 12 points (4-12 FG). In the fourth, Han Xu scored the first points of her WNBA career via a three-pointer.

The Chinese-born second-round pick hit three shots on a trio of attempts from the field to score seven points. She is the first Chinese-born player to score in a regular season WNBA game since Chen Nan of the 2009 Chicago Sky.

Tina Charles led the Liberty with 17 points and six rebounds, while Kia Nurse (14 points), Reshanda Gray and Amanda Zahui B (11 each) also reached double figures. In another historic bright spot, Charles passed Angel McCoughtry for 15th place all-time on the WNBA’s scoring list (5,472). Lindsay Whalen (5,523) is next to pass.

The Liberty return to action on Tuesday, where they’ll take on the Los Angeles Sparks in a matinee showcase (11:00 a.m. ET, YES).

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