WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — Kia Nurse and Asia Durr provided the offensive spark to help the New York Liberty beat the Minnesota Lynx 75-69 on Wednesday night.
Nurse scored 26 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, and Durr added a career-high 20.
“Total team effort with a balanced scoring effort and getting key stops defensively allowed us to get the win,” Nurse said. “We’re continuing to find ways to win, playing with a lot of passion and that will allow you to go far in this league. We just need to continue to close it out.”
New York had a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter that Minnesota whittled down to 61-58 before Nurse hit a 3-pointer. That sparked a 10-4 run and made it 71-62. The Lynx rallied within four, but Durr made a spectacular move, splitting two defenders and scoring with 20 seconds left to seal the win.
“I was just trying to make a play. The shot clock was going down,” Durr said. “I didn’t want to turn the ball over. Make a move and try to score.”
The No. 2 pick in the draft said she was hearing from coach Katie Smith to shoot the ball more and she did.
Sylvia Fowles had 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead Minnesota (4-3), which has dropped three of its last four games. Fowles was happy that the team was able to rally from a 15-point deficit in the first half, but the team still needs to work on its end-game.
“Coming back is part of the game,” Fowles said. “Finishing and doing what we need to do is something different and we’re not executing right now.”
The win was the second straight for New York, which had a 17-game losing streak before Sunday’s victory over Las Vegas.
New York used a 14-2 run spanning the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second quarter to turn a 9-8 lead into a 13-point advantage. Durr was a big part of that spurt as the rookie surpassed her previous career-high of 12 points before halftime. She finished the opening 20 minutes with 14 points as New York led 38-28 at the break.
SOLID DEFENSE: Amanda Zahui B. had another strong defensive effort for the Liberty with two blocks and two steals to go along with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
“What she’s been able to do on the defensive end, having the energy, she’s been the glue for us this year,” said Tina Charles of her teammate.
MILESTONES: Fowles moved into the top 20 on the WNBA career scoring list, passing Taj McWilliams-Franklin in the first quarter for 20th. The Lynx star has 5,025 points.
CHINESE CONNECTION: Wednesday night marked the first time in WNBA history that two Chinese players competed against each other in a regular-season game. New York’s Han Xu and Minnesota’s Shao Ting chatted before the game. Han was drafted 14th by New York this year while Shao was signed as a free agent in April. The pair played together for China on the national team that finished sixth at the FIBA World Cup last fall. The pair didn’t get on the court.
TRAINING ROOM: Liberty forward Rebecca Allen broke the third metacarpal bone in her right hand in practice on Tuesday. She’s out at least three weeks. Allen was wearing a soft cast. … Minnesota guard Seimone Augustus traveled with the team and is still recovering from arthroscopic surgery on her right knee on May 30. She’s out indefinitely. She was charged with a technical foul from the bench early in the fourth quarter. … Lynx rookie Jessica Shepard wasn’t with the team after tearing the ACL in her right knee. She will miss the remainder of the season and have surgery once the swelling on the knee goes down.
Lynx: Host Connecticut on Friday night.
Liberty: At Las Vegas on Friday night to begin a two-game trip.
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