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Liberty come back but fall short in another heart breaker

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Indiana Fever v New York Liberty Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The first Liberty-Nets YES double header started off badly Thursday night when the Liberty came back from a 16-point deficit against the Fever only to fall short in another heart breaker. In the end, Indiana pulled away and handed New York it’s eighth loss in nine games, 86-79, in the Bradenton “wubble.”

In a way, the late collapse was a function of the teams’ difference in experience. The Liberty have seven rookies, including the injured Sabrina Ionescu, while the Fever is blessed with veterans like Candice Dupree and Natalie Achonwa as well as Kelsey Mitchell who hit the dagger that sent the Liberty back to their hotel.

Down by 16, the Liberty fought their way back to trail by two in the final minute. Then, the Fever went on a final run. Here’s how the Indianapolis Star described the key play...

Out of baseline out of bounds set with 37 seconds remaining and a two-point lead, Julie Allemand caught a Kennedy Burke inbound pass. Burke raced to the top of the arc, while Candice Dupree set a screen away from the action, allowing Kelsey Mitchell to break free toward the left baseline. Mitchell caught Allemand’s pass, squared up to the basket and drained the three.

Still, the Liberty showed that they were capable of coming back, as Walt Hopkins, their rookie coach, told the Liberty social media post-game...

Indeed, Kia Nurse came up with a big game, 21 points and three assists.

Clarendon, who was signed to be Ionescu’s back-up, showed up once again in the starter’s role ... and passed a career milestone. Clarendon scored 13 first half points and ended the game with 20 points on 47.1% shooting. Layshia has now scored in double figures in eight of the team’s nine games this season.

The 20-point performance put Clarendon in the WNBA’s 1500-point club, making her the league’s 155th player to reach the milestone.

Clarendon offered encouragement to Liberty fans —and her teammates— post-game...

Rookie Jazmine Jones, who tallied 24 points two nights earlier, totaled 11 points Thursday, adding four four rebounds and three assists for New York.

Meanwhile in a story on WNBA activism, Autostraddle reports Friday that the Liberty as a team have been wearing “Black Trans Lives Matter” sweatshirts, something unique even in the WNBA...

The Liberty have continued to wear shirts with the words “Black Trans Lives Matter” on them, which the team tells Autostraddle was a collaboration between players and staff. On a nationally televised game, the entire coaching staff could be seen on the bench wearing the shirts. “I think it’s rare,” Liberty player Kiah Stokes told Jackie Powell at The Next. “Who has a coach who wears ‘black trans lives matter’ to a game? I think it’s powerful and it tries to send a message.”

Up Next: The Liberty will take on the Minnesota Lynx for the second time this season on Saturday, at 6 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports GO.