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New York Liberty Falls at Los Angeles 87-74
New York Liberty's Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, center, is defended by Los Angeles Sparks

New York Liberty Falls at Los Angeles 87-74

The New York Liberty (12-12) lost to the Los Angeles Sparks (18-6) 87-74 on Friday night at the Staples Center. Guard Bria Hartley led the Liberty offensively with 16 points and 3 assists, while forward Tina Charles finished with 10 points.

After falling behind 8-0 to start the game, New York came back to take a brief 1-point lead in the 2nd quarter and tied the game by halftime. After scoring the 1st basket of the 2nd half, New York saw the Sparks answer with a 20-5 run to take control of the game. Candace Parker (24 points) and Nneke Ogwumike (17 points) paced the Sparks. New York turned the ball over 14 times, which led to 19 points for Los Angeles.

The game was the last of a season-long 5-game road trip for the Liberty, it’s longest since the 2012 season; New York went 2-3 on the current road trip and fell to 5-8 on the road this season.

New York returns home to Madison Square Garden to face the Indiana Fever on Tuesday, Aug. 8. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 PM.

New York Liberty Notes

• New York finished its 5-game road trip, the team’s longest since the 2012 season, with a 2-3 record. The Liberty will play 6 of its last 10 games at Madison Square Garden and does not have consecutive road games for the rest of the 2017 season

• LA opened the game on an 8-0 run and the Liberty had 4 personal fouls and a technical called on head coach Bill Laimbeer before hitting its 1st field goal

• Tina Charles picked up 2 personal fouls 48 seconds into the game and finished with 10 points and 3 rebounds

• Bria Hartley had 10 points and 2 assists in the 1st quarter, scoring in double figures for the 9th time; she finished with 16 points and 3 assists with a pair of 3-pointers

• Bria Hartley led the Liberty in scoring for the 3rd time this season and in consecutive games for the 1st time

• Liberty opened the 2nd quarter on a 7-0 run, tying the game 29-29 in a Lindsay Allen fast-break layup from Tina Charles, and taking its first lead 30-29 on a Sugar Rodgers free throw

• New York had 10 different players record at least 1 field goal in the 1st half

• After the Liberty took its largest lead of the game 46-44 to start the 2nd half, the Sparks went on a 20-5 run

• The Liberty has lost 5-straight to the Sparks with the last win in the series coming back in the 2015 season

• New York was tied heading into the half for the 1st time this season

• The Liberty fell to 3-11 when trailing heading into the
4th quarter

• New York fell to 1-7 when being outscored in 2nd chance opportunities (Sparks held a 9-8 edge on Friday night)

New York Liberty Quotes…

Liberty Head Coach Bill Laimbeer:

(On what to take away from the game moving forward…)

“I think, you know, right now we’re 500 and we put this season behind us at this point. All of our long road trips are out of the way, we have a lot of home games coming up, and we have to regroup and start playing better basketball.”
 
(On who stood out most on the team…)

“I think Bria Hartley’s playing pretty well these days and it was good to get, now we always want to win the game but the game went out of control and it’s nice to give our bench players some opportunity and a couple of them came in and played pretty well.”

(On emotions going down 8-0 and ending the 1st half at a tie…)

“I think it’s credit to the team. We showed good resilience in the first half. This has been a long, long stretch for the last 6 weeks for us, 2 long road trips, and we got a little tired, but we regrouped and then the third quarter we just turned the ball over and gave them the lead.”

(On the physicality of the game…)

“I don’t think it was an overly physical game at all. I think there was some early calls that, you know, probably shouldn’t have been called, but it is what it is, but it wasn’t an over physical game. It was just two elite teams going up and down.”

Liberty Tina Charles

(On how team responded to starting slow and tying it up at half time…)

“I thought it was great. I think Bria Hartley did great to send the tempo, and I think we just we persevered through in the first half. I think we had 8 turnovers in the third quarter that hurt us a bunch and they capitalized on it, and they gained a lot of momentum, had their crown behind them. Kudos to them, they played a great second half.”

(On the third quarter shift…)

“I think the momentum just went their way, capitalizing on our turnovers. That really deflated us. I think the second unit, the bench came in and gave them great minutes and played hard.”

(On what to take away from a game like this…)

“We just gotta keep our head up, you know we had two back-to-back long road trips, you know we’re just looking forward to getting home, we got Indiana to play against and we just gotta keep our head up and stay positive.”

(On hitting the reset button with more home games coming up…)

“We got a lot more to prove, we’re a better team than what we’ve been showing lately, just gotta learn how to close out games, but as long as we stay together I’m just optimistic and staying positive.”

(On being player of the month…)

“It’s a blessing, I put a lot of hard work into my game, I’m just where I am, just to be a presence on any team that I’m on. I’m just going to keep playing hard, you know I wish we had more wins that came along with it, you know, as long as we’re playing hard, everything else comes along.”

Liberty Bria Hartley

(On almost beating season high and how it affects confidence…)

“I mean when you’re playing well, obviously your confidence is going, but I think in this game kind of you want to come out with a win and just look at what our team could do better, I think that’s more of our focus right now.”

(On what changed after slow start…)

“I think it was, we just talked in the huddle like ‘We gotta stay together.’ A lot of times in the game of basketball, there’s going to be runs, so they went on their run in the beginning, we were able to come back and everyone kind of did their part and people were able to hit shots.”

(On shift in the 3rd quarter…)

“I think the third quarter for us was turnovers. It was just a few turnovers, they were able to get some easy transition buckets, and they hit some tough shots too, so credit to them, but if we take care of the ball it’s going to be a very different game.”

(On upcoming home games with road games behind them…)

“I think anytime you have a loss you need to look forward. That’s behind us, there’s nothing you can do to change it, but learn from it, move forward and just take it one game at a time.”

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