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Liberty gets mashed by Mystics in D.C. as season nears end

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New York Liberty v Washington Mystics Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Liberty are a long way from respectability. Despite a new and supportive owner —and the prospect of playing in his arena next season— New York’s WNBA team is hurting. They lost by 29 on Sunday to the Washington Mystics, the league’s best team. It was their 13th loss in 15 games and gives them a 9-20 record with five to play.

Final score: Mystics 101, Liberty 72. The game was played at the St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena in D.C.

Much if not all of the Liberty’s woes are due to belt-tightening by the team’s previous owner, James Dolan, who sold the team to Joe Tsai back in January. Once a perennial contender, the Liberty now have the second worst record in the WNBA ... lost to the worst team, the Atlanta Dream, earlier in the weekend.

Sunday’s loss was more of the same. Mystics start Elena Delle Donne had 22 points and 10 rebounds on Sunday. Washington led from the opening basket in a 101-72 rout in the nation’s capital.

Washington (21-8) built a 31-14 advantage by the end of the first quarter and led by double digits the rest of the way. Delle Donne was 8-of13 from the field and the Mystics shot 53 percent overall. Tianna Hawkins added 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Emma Meesseman and Aerial Powers scored 14 points each.

For the Liberty, the offense once again couldn’t carry the load, shooting a miserable 37.5 percent. They did break from their recent long-range shooting woes and hit 42.1 from three.

All-Star Kia Nurse scored 24 points for New York to lead the way, making 6-of-10 from 3-point range for the Liberty. Bria Hartley and Tina Charles added 16 points apiece, but Charles had only two boards in 23 minutes.

For the Mystics, the win represented a nice turnaround after they had lost to the Chicago Sky Friday following a long layoff.