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Liberty are WNBA's best, clinch 1st playoff berth since 2012

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The New York Liberty, led by Tina Charles' 18 points and 11 rebounds, top the Minnesota Lynx 81-68 - clinching their first trip to the playoffs since 2012.

Chris Poss

Madison Square Garden is used to having the world's best teams take the hardwood night after night.

And as expected, Friday was no exception. The Minnesota Lynx and the New York Liberty, the top teams in their respected divisions, faced off in a game that didn't disappoint.

The Lynx, who currently have the best overall record in the league, already clinched a playoff spot prior to Friday's game. New York, however, needed just one more win to earn their first trip to the playoffs in three seasons.

And New York did just that, defeating Minnesota 81-68, clinching their ticket to the postseason.

New York came out of the gates firing, jumping to a quick 27-16 lead after one quarter of play. Minnesota quickly recovered, though, cutting the lead to just five points by halftime.

But the Liberty, led by Tina Charles and her 18 points and 11 rebounds, came out of the break and retook control of the game. By the end of the third quarter, New York was once again leading by 11 points, a lead they were able to ride through the rest of the contest.

Along with Charles' double-double for the Liberty, Epiphanny Prince finished the game with 22 points. Center Kiah Stokes recorded 11 rebounds in the game, tying her career high.

Maya Moore once again led the way for the Lynx, scoring 25 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Sylvia Fowles, also recorded a double-double for Minnesota with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

The Liberty will have very little time to recover from Friday's victory, as they take the court again on Saturday against the Connecticut Sun. The Lynx will head home to host the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday.