After two straight losses in blowouts against the Aces on the road, the New York Liberty bounced back against the Los Angeles Sparks to finish their four-game West Coast trip on a high note with a 76-73 victory.
The game marked the 25th anniversary of the inaugural WNBA matchup against the Liberty and Sparks back in 1997.
Rebecca Allen led the Liberty with 19 points, 15 of them coming behind the arc on a 5-for-11 3-point point shooting outing. The five threes are a career high for Allen. She also delivered in the clutch defensively with two big blocks and had three total rejections as well as three steals against the Sparks.
Postgame, Head Coach Walt Hopkins commended on her improving play: “Bec [Allen] is still developing & finding her way in how good she can be. Everyone has known that Bec can be a really good player on both ends. She’s done everything we’ve asked of her to be an ideal teammate — instinctive is a really good word, long is another.”
New York’s usual leading scorer, Betnijah Laney, had herself a solid game with 14 points. Most notably, though, Laney eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in her career against the Sparks.
The Liberty struggled with turnovers against LA, giving the ball away a staggering 29 times despite coming away with the win. Betnijah Laney - promoted to lead ball handler with PG Sabrina Ionescu slowly being coming back in from injury - had 9 giveaways herself. Hopkins isn’t letting that get in the way of the rest of her play, though: “The turnovers, she’s gonna grow, she’s gonna learn from them. The last thing I want her to do is think that diminishes any of the contributions she makes on the court.”
Sami Whitcomb scored 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, as well as 3-of-6 shooting from behind the three-point arc. Whitcomb’s hustle has been highlighted by coaches and teammates alike all year, and that showed in her career-high 9 rebounds against the Sparks.
As for Los Angeles, guard Erica Wheeler dominated every aspect of the game with 20 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Nia Coffey and Kristi Toliver both added 15 points on the afternoon.
Here are the game highlights:
The Liberty will be back at the Barclays Center on Tuesday, taking on the Chicago Sky in the first game of a mini-series against them. The game tips-off at 7 p.m. and will air on YES.