Minneapolis, Minn.– With 36 seconds remaining in overtime, Shavonte Zellous pulled up and sunk a three-point basket that not only gave the Liberty a 95-92 victory, but further cemented a rough stretch for the Lynx going back to Friday night.
It was the third straight loss for the defending champions, who had been undefeated before that. And New York has won seven of their last eight match ups.
Sugar Rodgers put up a career-high 30 points for the Liberty, who were missing top scorer Tina Charles. Amanda Zahui B. added 17 and Zellous, 15.
“Well, I think we like overtime,” Zellous said. “This is our sixth game in overtime (this season), but in the end we executed well. We knew we were down our best player in Tina Charles, and everyone came in here and everyone contributed when they had the opportunity to.”
The Lynx performance in the second half can be perfectly described as night and day. They executed a near flawless third period that not only gave them a 12-point advantage, but saw Maya Moore put up 14 of her team-leading 24 points. However, lackadaisical play on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball saw New York execute a fourth quarter comeback, later forcing overtime.
“I was just being aggressive coming out, knowing we needed to pick it up and my teammates and I did a good job of executing what we were trying to do,” Moore said. “We had a good rhythm and combine that with some pretty solid defense until the last minute in the third -we held them to a good amount. The third quarter was great for us, just a combination of defense and offense and we didn’t maintain that or increase that in the fourth.”
The Liberty’s comeback performance was aided by a 17-2 run in the fourth quarter that led to the team’s sixth overtime game of the season and the fourth within the last five games.
For Zahui B. it was a trip back to Minnesota, where she was a star forward.
“It was great, it was great. I mean I love the Minnesota fans and a lot of them are Gopher fans and I’ve been given a lot of love on social media before I came here, so it was a lot of fun,” she said.
With Wednesday’s loss the Lynx now fall to 13-3 after starting the season 13-0. Coach Cheryl Reeve blamed it all on her team’s defensive performance.
“It has been, all season, the biggest disappointment for me. It’s not registering. We’re not getting it done,” she said. “Perimeter players on every team have their way with us and therefore put so much pressure on our post players. It creates opportunities on the glass because we can’t keep it in front of us”.
The Lynx will once again try for win number fourteen when they host the San Antonio Stars at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.