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Liberty wins nail-biter against top of the table Chicago Sky

The New York Liberty faced off against the Chicago Sky at Barclays Center for the third time this season and won 83-80. The Sky came into the matchup with a six-game win streak while the Liberty had a five-game losing streak.

Chicago was without Courtney Vandersloot after she missed their previous three games in concussion protocol. Michaela Onyenwere was listed as questionable for the Liberty, but she later played and became a big piece in their win. DiDi Richards and Jocelyn Willoughby did not play, and head coach Sandy Brondello said they did not play due to squad rotation.

The starting five for each team were as follows: Rebecca Allen, Natasha Howard, Stefanie Dolson, Sabrina Ionescu and Crystal Dangerfield for the home side and Kahleah Copper, Emma Meesseman, Candace Parker, Allie Quigley and Julie Allem and for the visitors.

Highlights

New York came out ready to fight against the Sky for the first time in quite a few games. The Liberty held an 8-0 run in the first two minutes that helped build the energy for the game. Meesseman and Parker combined for five points before three back-to-back free-throws were awarded to the Sky after the Liberty drew the fouls. Each player only made one of two shots to allow the Liberty to keep playing with their heads held high. The Sky went on to have a 10-0 scoring drive before Howard took it to the basket and got the layup and one. The first quarter ended with the Liberty leading 17-14.

After being held scoreless in the first quarter, Ionescu started the second quarter with a bang. She made a 23-foot-three-pointer near the baseline to increase the Liberty's lead. Ionescu went on to score five more points in the quarter. Fouls then started becoming an issue when the Sky scored ten free throws. Going into halftime, Chicago led the Liberty 39-37.

New York had a better shooting percentage overall. The team shot 37.5 percent in the paint and 28.6 percent beyond the arch. The team also had 100 percent free throws made compared to 76.5 percent that Chicago held. On a downside, the Liberty had 14 fouls amongst the team while the Sky only had seven. Luckily for the home team, the crowd was encouraging the missed free throws from the Sky as much as they possibly could.

After leaving the game with three personal fouls, Dolson scored the first nine points for the side to give an early lead. Chicago's Rebekah Gardner also had a great performance in the third quarter with eight points from the bench as her presence caused the Liberty to step up their defense to prevent more points from being scored. The quarter ended with eight unanswered points from the home team to enter the final quarter leading 61-55.

The fourth quarter came down to the wire to decide who would win. The Sky came back and led the game for a bit before the Liberty composed themselves with a few key plays. Unfortunately, Howard fouled out with 43 seconds to go, but the team was able to fill the spot and grab the win.

With nine seconds left, Ionescu hit a jumper to put the New York up two and got fouled by Gardner in the process. Ionescu successfully converted the free throw to take the lead 81-80. The Sky got the ball in quick and tried to give Parker a lane to shoot, but she missed the layup and Onyenwere came up with the game-winning rebound. Onyenwere was also awarded two free throws after Parker fouled her, and they were converted to give the Liberty the 83-80 win.

"It was a big win, like coach Sandy just walked in the locker room and said 'we're gonna get this win'," Howard said after the conclusion of the match. "She had a good feeling about it."

What's Up Next for the Liberty?

The Liberty return to action on Friday, July 29 where they will face the Chicago Sky away for the final time this season. You can watch the Liberty on CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m.

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