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New York- The New York Liberty (7-4) came into Friday’s game on a roll against the Connecticut Sun (5-5), winning five of their last six but
That lone loss was on the road to the Sun. The offense had been clicking, averaging 88.2 points/game over the last six. It also marked the return of Epiphanny Prince and Kia Vaughn.
After a slow start from both teams, they traded baskets with neither team taking control. With 4:59 remaining in the first quarter, New York held a slim 10-9 lead.
Over the next four minutes, Connecticut goes on a 15-5 run ignited by their swarming defense to take a 24-15 lead. A 3-pointer by the Liberty’s Prince cut the lead to six (24-18). Two free throws by the Sun’s Kayla Pedersen ended the first quarter scoring with Connecticut leading 26-18.
Shekinna Stricklen hit three 3-pointers early in the quarter that pushed the lead to 32-20.
Offensively, the Liberty couldn’t get in rhythm which caused a semi drought.
Connecticut would lead 46-32 at the half. Hartley led New York at the half with 10 points while Sugar Rodgers added eight points. The Sun were led by Shekinna Stricklen’s 12 points and Jasmine Thomas’ 10 points.
The Liberty started the third quarter strong with a 10-3 run to cut the deficit to seven points (49-42). Connecticut gathered themselves and took back control of the game with a 13-4 run of their own pushing their lead 62-46.
Unforced turnovers by New York allowed the Sun’s lead to balloon to 20 points at 68-48 with 2:20 left in the quarter.
After a Bill Laimbeer timeout to stop Connecticut’s momentum, a late run by New York cuts into Connecticut’s lead 71-57 after three quarters.
New York opened the 4th quarter in by virtue of a 20-9 run over the first six minutes to to cut the deficit to three points, 80-77.
Staying poised, New York ties the game 86-86 off a Shavonte Zellous lay up with 1:11 remaining.
It would be short lived as the Sun’s Jasmine Thomas would hit a baseline jumper to regain the lead.
After an rushed ill-advised missed jumper by the Liberty’s Prince, Connecticut seals the game with a clutch 3-pointer by Alex Bentley with 20 seconds remaining to seal the game.
New York was led by Tina Charles 20 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Shavonte Zellous added 18 points, Epiphanny Prince scored 14 points with five rebounds and three assists while Bria Hartley and Sugar Rodgers each chipped in 13 points.
Connecticut was led by Jasmine Thomas’ 23 points and five assists. Jonquil Jones contributed 21 points and seven rebounds, Courtney Williams had 14 points, Shekinna Stricklen had 13 points and Alyssa Thomas had 12 points in a crucial Eastern Conference battle. .