New York’s historic second half falls short in loss against Las Vegas
It was a record-breaking Tuesday night for the New York Liberty.
For the second time this season, the Liberty and the Las Vegas Aces displayed an entertaining high-scoring battle fresh off All-Star weekend.
The Aces came away with the 107-101 win despite mounting a historic second half, New York’s efforts came up just short.
Trailing 52-28 at the half, New York struggled shooting, hitting just 26 percent of its shots from the field.
With a 24-point advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, the second-place Las Vegas Aces entered the second half looking to continue their hot start.
However, the final 20 minutes was a completely different story.
As a team, they combined for 73 points setting a WNBA record for the most points scored in a half, breaking the previous record of 72 held by the Detroit Shock in 2007.
The third and fourth quarters were the two best all year for New York, shooting a combined 67 percent from the field and the three-point line.
A huge third quarter ignited the comeback, outsourcing the Aces 35-19. Sami Whitcomb had five triples in the quarter and finished the contest with 17 points.
Whitcomb is the first Liberty player to make five or more three’s in a quarter since 2006, and she tied the record for most three-pointers in the third quarter.
Entering the fourth quarter still trailing, the Liberty needed its first-time All-star Sabrina Ionescu to take over in clutch time.
Ionescu struggled through the first three quarters converting two shots on nine opportunities for six points.
She lit the torch and blazed the nets in the final quarter shooting 75 percent, tallying 21 of New York’s 38 points.
Her 21 points is a WNBA record for most points scored for an individual player in the fourth quarter.
Ionescu displayed some big-time shots, some of which being off-balanced triples that looked similar to Steph Curry's caliber of shots.
Her performance tonight goes beyond describing why she is a WNBA All-Star and should promote her discussion for the league MVP.
New York’s other All-Star, Natasha Howard, contributed a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Despite these efforts, New York was unable to come back, with Las Vegas converting 34 of 35 free throws to help capture the victory.
Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young and A’ja Wilson combined for 73 points for the Aces in a much-needed victory to turn things around after the All-Star weekend.
Five days ago, the Aces and Liberty set several WNBA records, recording 223 points which are the most in WNBA history.
Unlike Tuesday’s matchup, New York won 116-107. To enrich this offensive-heavy matchup, the teams also totaled 31 three-point field goals, the most in WNBA history.
As a team, the Liberty set a franchise record for most points scored in a single game with 116 and three-pointers made, hitting 18.
Just when it seems enough records were broken, there’s more.
New York also tied the WNBA record for most assists in a game with 35, and it now is 10th in the standings and will need to be more consistent to keep playoff hopes alive.
The two teams are set to square off again on Thursday.
Austin Groft is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com
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