New York, N.Y. –Two tenths of a second were all that remained in the contest. Elena Delle Donne had just brought the Sky to within one. On a night where the reigning MVP appeared to make almost everything in sight, her last shot was the one that didn’t fall, as the Liberty escaped with a one-point victory, 80-79.
Tina Charles, playing with a face mask to cover a broken nose she sustained in a game Wednesday, led New York with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Kiah Stokes added 12 points and Sugar Rodgers, 11. Elena Delle Donne netted a season high 31 points.
Despite almost giving up a double digit lead, Liberty Head Coach Bill Laimbeer was happy to escape with a victory.
“It was a good win for us, no question about it, but we got tired and ran out of glass in the fourth quarter,” he said. “I’m learning to play my bench more, give us more time, and I thought our bench was phenomenal tonight. They came in, expanded the lead, and we came out today and played a fine basketball game.”
Reigning MVP Delle Donne also recording her 500th career free throw. However, it was a rough night collectively for the Sky, who gave up 50 points in the first half.
Chicago was able to benefit from some offensive struggles by the Liberty, outscoring them 17-12 in the third period. But the visitors once again dug themselves a hole in the fourth quarter, going down by eleven points that proved to be just one too many in the end.
“The driving message when we started the half was to get stops,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. “We got some momentum in the third quarter. I think it was only a 12-point quarter, so we kept driving that message home. There was a 50-point half and a 30-point half.”
“We have to get the motor going a little bit earlier and not dig ourselves so much of a hole. I thought they did well fighting back but this is the number one team in the East – can’t fight back, they need to chase you.”
Guard Cappie Pondexter also recorded a season high with 20 points of her own.
Sue Favor contributed to this report.