The New York Liberty suffered another hard-fought ‘wubble’ loss Tuesday, this time to the shorthanded Connecticut Sun, 70-65. With the loss, the Liberty fall to 2-14 on the season and the Sun keeps their playoff hopes alive with the win.
Both teams didn’t shoot the ball well, finishing under 35 percent, but the Sun capitalized off Liberty’s turnovers throughout the game. New York finished the loss with 18 total turnovers.
Despite another hard-fought loss, New York’s second unit played well. Kia Nurse, who came off the bench for the first time this season, led the Liberty with 18 points, three assists, and one rebound. The Canadian guard finished the loss shooting 4-of-11 overall and 2-of-5 from deep...
.@KayNurse11 getting buckets. pic.twitter.com/O9PenaAhfC— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) September 2, 2020
Jazmine Jones provided a good punch off the bench as well, finishing with 15 points, two rebounds, and one assist in 19 minutes of play. The rookie ended the third quarter with a 49-foot heave from halfcourt at the third-quarter buzzer...
Are you serious @Jazmine_Jones4 from longgggg range! pic.twitter.com/dRT4dAP6XS— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) September 2, 2020
As for the starters, the Liberty did not have one starter finish in double-figures. The five players who took the court at tip-in totaled 16 points, led by Layshia Clarendon with seven points. The Liberty, of course, was without Sabrina Ionescu, who continues to rehab a left ankle sprain, and Megan Walker, who is dealing with a right hip injury.
Liberty struggled to score the ball throughout the opening period, going only 1-for-8 from deep and 2-for-13 overall. On top of their early shooting troubles, the Liberty racked up seven first-quarter turnovers. Nurse led New York in scoring with three points in four minutes off the bench as the Liberty headed into the second quarter down 18-8.
After a sluggish first quarter, the Liberty flipped the script, outscoring the Sun 24-11 in the second. The Liberty’s second unit, led by Nurse, and using 6’4” rookie Kylee Shook off-the-ball as a screener was the difference-maker.
Post-game, Coach Walt Hopkins and Nurse praised Shook’s game...
Post-game: Coach @WalterHopkinsJr and @KayNurse11 speak highly of @kylee_shook's growth and great performance tonight.— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) September 2, 2020
Shook finished with 9 pts on 4-4 FG, 2 blks, and 1 stl. pic.twitter.com/8o8YElWsv4
The bench piled on 26 first-half points, led by Nurse, who finished with 12 first-half points. In addition to their strong offensive performance in the second, the Liberty thrived playing zone on the defensive end, clogging the paint and forcing Connecticut to take difficult outside shots.
At the half, New York led Connecticut 32-29.
The Sun began the second half with the edge on the offensive end as the Liberty went back to man-to-man on the defensive end. New York had difficulty on pick-and-roll as Connecticut was scoring with ease down low. With four minutes remaining in the third, New York switched back to zone on the defensive end, which helped lock up Connecticut.
The Liberty ended the third on an emphatic note as Jones drilled a 49-foot heave from halfcourt to cut the deficit to four points, trailing 52-48 heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
Following a slow start to the fourth for both teams, the game came down to the final minute of play. With 16.7 seconds remaining, DeWanna Bonner made a 15 footer to extend Connecticut’s lead to six points and the Sun held on to win the game.
The Liberty look to snap their two-game losing streak when they face the Atlanta Dream Thursday at 6:30 PM ET.