Photo Credit: Matthew Lejune (Unsplash)

Liberty bounce back from 20-point deficit to defeat the Sparks 64-61

The New York Liberty returned to the court Wednesday night to face off against the LA Sparks for the second night in a row. The Liberty came out victorious but it wasn't without major grit and a strong mentality to erase the deficit they faced.

The Liberty looked like a completely different team than when they beat the Sparks the previous night, 102-73. The composure they held to be able to come back from such a deficit shows the strength the group holds and what they're tried to accomplish all season. After these wins, the Liberty currently sit in eighth place with five games to go. They're on the road to making the playoffs once again.

The starting lineups for the two sides are as follows: Rebecca Allen, Natasha Howard, Stefanie Dolson, Sabrina Ionescu and Crystal Dangerfield for the Liberty. Katie Lou Samuelson, Nneka Ogwumike, Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Brittney Sykes and Jordin Canada for the Sparks. Chiney Ogwumike was replaced by Nelson-Ododa after suffering an injury the night before.

Highlights

The first quarter of the game was no where close to the best performance New York has had this season. The team only scored eight points and finished the half 16 points behind the Sparks. The Liberty could not make baskets in the paint let alone try and shoot beyond the arch. The team didn't have the same energy they did the night before to try and grab their third win in a row. On the defensive end, the Liberty had a decent outing but if they can't score, defense doesn't matter too much. They ended the quarter trailing 24-8 and Dangerfield led the team with four points.

The second quarter saw a spark offensively but LA was still able to hold their lead. The Liberty scored 20 total points in the quarter compared to LA's 15 but they still were trailing by 11 points. Dangerfield increased her tally to seven and Howard got some points on the board tallying seven as well. Ionescu only had four points after making 1-8 field goals and 1-6 three pointers. Marine Johannes had a strong outing making 2-2 from beyond the arch. The quarter ended 39-28 with the Sparks leading.

At halftime, the Liberty only shot 31.4 percent in the paint and 28.6 percent beyond the arch which were both lower than the previous nights numbers. They also had nine turnovers for 16 points compared to the Sparks' seven for 11 points.

The third quarter saw better scoring chances from the Liberty and they managed to go into the final quarter down by only five points. Ionescu increased her points to nine after she had a slow first half. She also had six assists and rebounds to add to her stats in the quarter. The Liberty ended up scoring 17 points in the quarter which was six more than LA. With consistent scoring, they were able to end the quarter trailing 50-45.

In the final quarter, the Liberty had moments that made them look like the winner but there was still chances they gave away to give the Sparks another jolt of energy. Ionescu was on fire in the final quarter ending with 20 points, including the free-throws that put the Liberty up over the Sparks for the first time all game. Howard finished with 12 points and had some big drives in the paint. The Liberty ended up winning 64-61 after a hungry second half performance.

The second half of the game presented a whole new Liberty team. They stayed confident and knew they had to dig deep to get the win so their playoff hopes are still alive.

What's Up Next for the Liberty?

The Liberty return to the court on August 6 at 10 p.m. to face the Phoenix Mercury. This game will be a big decider in playoff contention because the mercury have lost their last three games. You can watch the Liberty on NBA TV.

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