Rookie Teaira McCowan scored the final basket as the buzzer sounded to seal the season-opening win for the Indiana Fever, 81-80, over the New York Liberty on Friday night.
McCowan finished her first WNBA game with 11 points and 6 rebounds in less than 14 minutes of play. However, she also finished with five fouls — an area she will need to clean up going forward.
It was this play call that set up McCowan to be essentially by herself underneath the basket:
Teaira McCowan (@Teaira_15) calls GAME in her #WNBA debut for the @IndianaFever! pic.twitter.com/umebU3eNUg— WNBA (@WNBA) May 25, 2019
The game was full of big swings, as the Liberty jumped out to a 10-2 lead only to finish the first quarter up just 19-16. The Fever owned the second quarter, outscoring New York 23-14. Indiana had double-digit leads twice in the third quarter and led by as many as 12 points. However, the Liberty closed the quarter on a 18-2 run to lead, 60-56.
In the fourth quarter, the Liberty stretched their lead to 65-58 with eight minutes left. However, the Fever’s own 9-2 run tied the game two minutes later at 67 apiece. The Fever took 79-78 lead with two minutes to go after Tiffany Mitchell, who finished with a team-high 22 points, split a pair of free throws. It was Mitchell’s only free throw miss of the game, as she finished 13-of-14.
Heat Check! Big 3️⃣ by @TiffMitch25!#Fever20 #AllForLove pic.twitter.com/IDFcXlzNKR— Indiana Fever (@IndianaFever) May 25, 2019
No one scored again until there were seven seconds remaining. The Liberty ran a play that got Zahui B open for a mid-range jumper after Betnijah Laney missed two free throws, but the shot rimmed out. Zahui B finished with three rebounds and five fouls in her second career start.
Tina Charles was fouled while trying to recover the offensive rebound and sank her free throws to put the Liberty up 80-79. Charles finished with a game-high 32 points and 12 rebounds, along with going 10-for-10 from the charity stripe.
The Fever executed on offense to seal their first victory of 2019 and put them above .500 for the first time since 2016.