WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — Tina Charles and the New York Liberty finally ended the longest losing streak in franchise history with a complete effort against Las Vegas.
Charles scored 21 points and Bria Hartley added 17 to help New York end a 17-game skid with an 88-78 win over the Las Vegas Aces on Sunday.
“Everything came together,” Charles said. “That’s us having poise and recognizing where we needed to get better at and we did that this game.”
The Liberty (1-4) last had a win on July 15, 2018 when they beat Chicago by 23 points. New York lost the final 13 games of the season after that victory and the first four this year before the win over the Aces.
“It was nice to finally get one,” said Hartley, who will be leaving to play with France in the EuroBasket tournament. “We knew we’d get one soon.”
They were tied for the third longest losing streak in WNBA history, trailing only Indiana’s 18-game skid and Tulsa’s record 20-game run.
New York got off to a strong start and led 74-70 early in the fourth quarter before scoring seven straight points capped by Charles’ jumper with 4:10 left. Las Vegas (2-3) could only get within eight the rest of the way.
Kayla McBride led Las Vegas with 25 points and Liz Cambage added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Rookie of the Year A’ja Wilson saw her streak of scoring in double figures end at 37 when she was held to just five.
“New York played a very fine basketball game. They needed this win more than we wanted it. We didn’t come out with the energy and intensity from the start,” Aces coach Bill Laimbeer said. “We got down 16 and then finally started to play. Need leadership and need to understand how hard we have to play every game.”
New York built its eight-point halftime lead to 59-43 after a steal and layup by Hartley. Las Vegas rallied, scoring 13 of the next 14 points to cut its deficit to 60-56. The Liberty led 68-62 after three quarters.
For the second straight game New York put together a really strong first half and led 45-37 thanks to strong play by Hartley, Amanda Zahui B and Charles. The Liberty were up by 11 before Sugar Rodgers hit a 3-pointer in her return to New York to cut the Aces’ deficit to eight. Rodgers received a warm ovation from the crowd when she checked in late in the first quarter.
TIP-INS: New York rookie Asia Durr was a late scratch because she wasn’t feeling well. Durr was sitting on the bench with a towel over her shoulders. She said after the game she’d be fine. … Las Vegas lost Sydney Colson for the game when she got hurt with 48.1 seconds left in first quarter going for a loose ball. Her head hit the floor and she had a cut over her right eye. She went back to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion. … Wilson held the franchise record for consecutive double figures scoring games to start her career, but was well short of the WNBA record set by Cynthia Cooper of 92.