Liberty Fall Again In Overtime

At least the Liberty are still undefeated in regulation.

The Liberty were handed an 85-79 overtime loss by the Atlanta Dream at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday afternoon, two days after the Sparks defeated the Liberty in overtime.

New York squandered a 12-point third quarter lead, and was held to two points in the extra session. One major problem for head coach Bill Laimbeer has been his team’s outside shooting. The Liberty were 1-10 from three-point range. “I feel like we need somebody that can shoot the ball in the basket,” Laimbeer said. “It’s one of our bugaboos so far. The last couple of games we can’t make shots. We make a few shots tonight, we win going away by six, eight, 10 points. We just have to find a way to score efficiently.”

Tina Charles led New York with 29 points, including 18 in the second half. Atlanta double-teamed Charles for most of the fourth quarter, and the rest of the Liberty couldn’t make them pay. “We kicked the ball out to the right spots, we just didn’t knock down the shots,” Laimbeer said. “Something has to change because this league is too tough. Last year we won a lot of close games. This year we’ve lost two overtime games. We need another sniper on the perimeter.”

Charles, who knocked down the only three of the game for the Liberty, didn’t share Laimbeer’s assessment. “I don’t agree with Bill when he says that,” Charles said. “I’m going to put that out there. I don’t care. We do have go-to shooters. We have Sugar Rodgers. We have Shavonte Zellous. We do have go-to shooters so I don’t agree with that.”

There were plenty of rough shooting nights to go around. Tanisha Wright and Sugar Rodgers were both 4-14. Lindsey Harding was 3-9 and Brittany Boyd was 1-9 off the bench. The team was 1-10 from three-point range, including five misses from Rodgers. Charles put up 29 points, 10 rebounds, seven steals and six assists in the losing effort.

Charles, who played a game-high 42 minutes, was held scoreless in overtime due in part to being gassed. “Yeah, I was,” Charles said. “I don’t think I came out the entire second half but that was on me. I was very engaged on the offensive and defensive ends. I was flowing on the offensive end. I didn’t want to come out. I know how much I’m depended on so I’m going to be out there for my teammates.”

Charles’ UCONN teammate Tiffany Hayes led the Dream with 27 points and added 11 rebounds. Elizabeth Williams scored 16 and Angel McCoughtry added 15. Carla Cortijo scored 12 off the bench.

The 2-2 Liberty will have a week to recover from consecutive overtime games, with their next game coming on Tuesday night when they host Minnesota.

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