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New York, NY- The way the season ended was shocking as the New York Liberty lost a home playoff game to a Washington Mystics team they handled during the regular season.
After falling behind 4-0 in the early moments of the game, New York reeled off nine straight points. The Liberty attacked by getting out in transition. Great defense by the Liberty made it difficult for the Mystics to score and had them leading 21-10 after the first quarter.
The first four minutes of the second quarter had the teams trading baskets with New York’s lead ranging between 11-14 points. New York was executing well on offense, moving and sharing the ball.
The Mystics would not go away and fought back. The Liberty helped their cause being careless with the ball.New York committed consecutive turnovers which helped Washington cut into a double digit deficit.
In the last 5:20 of the quarter, the Mystics cut the Liberty’s lead from 13 down to 6. New York led 41-35 at the half.
Tina Charles led the Liberty with 11 points, Epiphanny Prince added nine points while Bria Hartley chipped in with seven points.
Washington was paced by Kristi Toliver’s 12 points while Elena Delle Donne added eight points and five rebounds.
The game turned in the third quarter when a complete meltdown by the Liberty allowed Washington to take over control of the game out scoring New York 25-10 in the quarter. Mystic guard Kristi Toliver was unstoppable, scoring 17 big points.
The Mystics turned the table using the Liberty’s strengths against them. Washington turned up the heat on defense and dominated the boards. When the smoke cleared, the Mystics had a 60-51 lead after three quarters.
Washington continued their dominance in the fourth quarter. They maintained a lead which never got under 14 points points and got as high as 17 (78-61).
What a way for New York’s season to come to a disappointing end after always being the team to come from behind.
The Liberty were led by Charles’ 18 points and six rebounds, Hartley contributed 15 points and five assists while Prince added 12 points and five rebounds.
The Mystics were led by Toliver’s 32 points and four assists, Delle Donne’s 18 points and 10 rebounds while Krystal Thomas added 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks.
Washington shot 19% from the field
New York shot 56% from the field
Liberty controlled the boards with a +7 advantage