After emphatically being rebuffed in their bid to get over .500, the New York Liberty look to regroup on the road and post a fourth straight victory there Friday night when they face the Chicago Sky.
The Liberty (7-8) had successfully shaken off an 0-4 start and had a potential season-defining showdown Sunday at home versus the Las Vegas Aces, but nothing went according to plan as they absorbed a 90-58 drubbing. Tina Charles had 13 points and eight rebounds, but New York never recovered after falling behind 12-2 in the first 2:30 of the contest.
“We might have gotten ourselves beat today anyways,” Liberty coach Katie Smith said according to High Post Hoops. “I just wasn’t personally pleased with the effort we had on both ends.”
There is help on the way for Smith and the Liberty as Amanda Zahui B. and Bria Hartley have returned following their participation in the EuroBasket tournament in Serbia. Zahui B. is expected to return to her customary starting spot at forward, where she averaged 11.4 points and 7.8 rebounds in nine games.
Hartley has averaged 9.0 points in five games, and guard Marie Johannes will join the Liberty for the stretch run. She signed with New York in March and played with Tango Bourges Basket in France. Johannes, who played for the French Olympic team in 2016, helped her national team reach the gold medal game of the EuroBasket, which it lost to Spain.
Chicago (7-8) has already been above .500 earlier this season but is also looking to get back to the break-even mark after a 73-72 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday. Allie Quigley tied a career high with six 3-pointers and scored 17 of her 24 points in the second half, but a potential game-winning 3 in the closing seconds caromed off the rim.
Sky coach James Wade took the blame for not getting Quigley a better look for the last shot, telling the Chicago Sun-Times, “It’s a play that we did a few weeks ago and we did it again like later, but I didn’t get them organized because the lineup was a little funkier than I thought it would be. I messed up. And I wish I could take it back but I can’t.”
Quigley, who played collegiately nearby at DePaul, has made at least three treys in five of her last six games. She has averaged 15.3 points in that stretch while shooting 51.2 percent (21 for 41) from beyond the arc.
Quigley hit 3 of 5 from deep while Courtney Vandersloot scored 25 points to power Chicago to a 91-83 win at New York on June 19. Vandersloot had a basket and two assists in a 11-0 burst to start the fourth quarter, then sealed the win by making 5 of 6 free throws in the final 37.2 seconds.
(Tanisha Wright photo courtesy New York Liberty official Twitter account)