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New York- The New York Liberty (4-3) prevents Phoenix Mercury (4-3) from getting revenge in a 88-72 win.
Phoenix came into tonight’s contest looking to avenge an earlier loss to the New York Liberty.
New York got off to a fast start with an 8-2 run with four of the five starters scoring. The Liberty put early pressure on the Mercury’s defense by attacking the basket.
On the other side, Phoenix got off to a slow start. Their two main players, Brittany Griner and Diana Taurasi were a combined 2-11 in the first quarter.
Liberty lead 23-16 as a half court shot by Sugar Rodgers was waived off.
Taurasi was held scoreless in the first quarter, due mostly to tough defense by Shavonte Zellous. “I just tried to make it hard on her by being in her space. It was a collective effort for everybody to help on her,” said Zealous.
The second quarter started like the first with the Liberty getting quickly out the gate with a 7-0 run.
Taurasi didn’t score her first basket of the game until 6:22 of the second quarter. Back-to-back threes by Taurasi brought the Mercury within five trailing 35-30.
Brittany Griner was able to get in a scoring groove by scoring 15 of her 19 points to keep the Mercury close.
The Liberty went into to halftime with a 47-41. New York was led by Kiah Stokes’ 17 points and 10 rebounds. Zellous chipped in with 10 points and sound defense on Taurasi.
In the third quarter, the Mercury quickly cut the lead to two points. Stokes picked up her fourth foul midway through the third quarter.
Tina Charles became the focal point with some help from Zellous offensively.
Not long after Stokes went to the bench, Griner picked up her fourth foul and a technical for kicking the ball into the stands.
The Liberty capitalized from the free throw line going 15-19 during the third quarter. They extended their halftime lead to nine with a 72-63 lead after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, New York played very methodically with the lead. Moving the ball and taking the shots they wanted, they controlled the pace.
Phoenix made it interesting early in the fourth but could not get enough stops on the defensive end.
Liberty’s defense continued to give Phoenix problems in the fourth quarter holding the Mercury’s high powered offense to just nine points.
Stokes led the way with a double-double scoring 23 and grabbing 14 rebounds. Zellous added 21 and Tina Charles provided 16 points. “It’s been amazing regardless if it’s me or having Shavonte and Kiah scoring,” stated Charles.