The New York Liberty ground out a win Friday night against the Phoenix Mercury, 80-76.
New York was led by Kia Nurse and Tina Charles. Nurse had 26 points on 8-11 shooting from the floor. Charles had 23 points and 12 rebounds.
Nurse stated, “I am very fortunate to have teammates who set incredible screens, we know where and when to put to be successful. I am very fortunate to have people around me who every team has to focus on because they dominate at what they do, so it allows me to get open shots when needed.”
Phoenix’s leading scorer was Brittney Griner with 30 points.
The Mercury got off to a fast start behind Griner and Leilani Mitchell. They combined to score the first 13 points of the game.
New York started off slowly and only scored 4 points in the first six minutes of the game.
The Liberty were able to claw their way back into the game with defense and their two stars scoring, Nurse and Charles. Phoenix led 25-17 after the first quarter.
New York outscored Phoenix, 23 -15 in the 2nd quarter. The Mercury led 41-40 at halftime.
Nurse on getting back into the game after the slow start: “It was picking up the defensive pressure. In the 2nd quarter, we made sure to get our hands on balls for deflections, led to transition which helped our offense.”
The second half was a back and forth affair all the way to the end.
New York was up 78-76 with 10 seconds left and Phoenix had the ball. The play was for Griner to post up on the left block: she did a turn around jumper and the ball bounced off the rim. Phoenix fouled the Liberty and they made the final two free throws to ice the game, 80-76.
Phoenix head coach Sandy Brondello on the play that could of tied up the game: “It was a shot she (Griner) was getting all game basically. We got her the ball at least, because the play before it was supposed to be to get her the ball and we just didn’t get it in to her. She played great, she missed one shot, it’s not on her. She did everything she could to help us win that game.”
New York is now on a three game streak after snapping the Mercury’s three game winning streak.
New York will host a game against the Las Vegas Aces on Sunday, July 7th.
The Mercury will also be playing on their home court on Sunday, July 7th, against the Atlanta Dream.