July 3- Halfway through the New York Liberty’s game against the Washington Mystics, it wasn’t looking good for NY. The Liberty had been down by as much as 20, and entered halftime losing 51-33 to DC. Tina Charles was dominating in her first game back against her former team with 14 points and 7 rebounds at the half. The Liberty offense were struggling with their field goals shooting 32.4%.
“We had a little talk (at halftime)” said Walt Hopkins post-game. Whatever the head coach said worked, as the Liberty found a spark against the Mystics in the second half and slowly cut their deficit. An uproar lifted up through the Barclays Center crowd in the second half feeding off the energy of the players on the court.
Jaz Jones led by example with the energy she brought to the Liberty with 12 points in the second half (17 total points). With 2:10 minutes left in the third quarter, Jones ran after a loose ball and flew herself across the Mystics bench and took a scary flip over the railing. Jones quickly got up unhurt, but it was a hard flailing fall.
Jones joked post-game about her leap.
By the end of the third quarter, the Mystics lead shrunk to 66-56. Behind Jones’ energy, the Liberty offense went off in the second half. Betnijah Laney scored 8 points (19 total) and Sabrina Ionescu had scored 7 points (15 total).
With 1:58 left in the fourth quarter, the Liberty got the score down to 79-76. In consecutive possessions, Ionescu found Reshanda Gray for a 4-0 run to give New York the lead with 1:13 left in the game. Laney sealed the victory by knocking down a pair of free throws within the final two seconds to cap off the 82-79 comeback win.
Jaz Jones tweeted after the game:
The crowd at Barclays Center was loud and infectious. Even with limited capacity seating there was so still so much energy and enthusiasm for the Liberty. The roar of the fans grew with every Liberty bucket and defensive turnover. As the Liberty chipped away at the score, the crowd could see a win in sight. The players and fans fed off each other’s energy and were HUNGRY to complete the comeback.
Entering today, the Liberty had just one comeback win in franchise history when trailing by 20+ points, also against the Washington Mystics on August 21, 2003. The last time any WNBA team came back from down 20+ to win a contest was in 2019.
The Liberty outscored the Mystics 49-28 in the second half to secure the win. New York finished on 45.3% (29-64) shooting from the field, 40.0% (8-20) from beyond the arc and 84.2% (16-19) at the free throw line. The Mystics’ Tina Charles finished with 31 points and 16 rebounds.
DiDi Richards went down with a neck sprain in the third quarter and needed assistance getting off the court. Fortunately, Richards was able to return to the bench but was ruled out for the rest of the game. Hopefully she feels better soon.
The Liberty’s record now sits at 9-9 and are tied with the Dallas Wings for 6th and 7th in the league. On Monday, July 5, the New York Liberty will take on the Dallas Wings in Brooklyn. Tip-off is 7 pm ET on YES Network and Facebook.
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