New York, NY -- So, what happens when the No. 5 team in the WNBA, the New York Liberty, takes on the second best team in the league, the Los Angeles Sparks? Not just one of the top teams in the league, but a team that beat you up 13 the last time you met. Well, this afternoon, New York got revenge on Los Angeles. The final result favored the Liberty, who pulled off a dominating 83-69 win at home.
Unlike their last matchup when the Liberty’s veterans struggled offensively, they were awake and in a good rhythm today. Today, Shavonte Zellous (19-points), Tina Charles (21-points) and Epiphanny Prince (18-points) combined for an astounding 58-points — 39 more points than they combined for in their loss to Los Angeles.
The Liberty had all of the working parts necessary for a huge win like the one today to bring a halt to Los Angeles' winning streak.
Los Angeles started strong in the first with great accuracy beyond the arc and 64% accuracy from the field, helping them establish an 11-point lead, 27-16, going into the second stanza.
The Sparks carried the lead well through the first half, but a resurgence from the Liberty that resulted in a record-breaking 20-0 run, the longest of the season, at the end of the second quarter gave New York a 44-35 lead going into halftime.
"They made a big start but we got it back and tied it at half time. Then they start taking the ball to the basket because we extended our defense and they started making lay-ups.
“The game plan was to keep them in the perimeter,” said New York Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer. “Once we figured that out, we stuck to it and they didn’t make the shots anymore, then we rammed the ball down their throats.”
New York started the second half just as strong as they finished the first, only allowing the Sparks to get within five-points of their lead. Despite some strong runs, Los Angeles just couldn't regain the lead against the Liberty or remain consistent, who continued to dominate in the fourth.
"I think New York had a lot to do with how we played. They were very aggressive. They were committed to having success. They were hungry. They were physical. Teams this time of year, when they’re hungry, they usually play like that. And New York’s trying to move up in the standings," Los Angeles head coach Brian Agler said about the Liberty's strong performance.
Both teams hit the road this week, with New York heading to Connecticut Friday to take on the Sun and the Sparks in Washington Wednesday to battle it out with the Mystics. LA's Candace Parker said that the Sparks need to figure out how to win on the road.
"Obviously we didn't want to lose this game, but I think we need to figure out our issues on the road. I think it's been trouble for us this year. We're not going to make any excuses - we didn't play the way that we wanted to and New York hit shots."