NEW YORK (AP) — Seattle coach Dan Hughes walked off the court after the Storm beat New York impressed with the atmosphere he just saw.
The game was played at Barclays Center, the first time during the regular season that the Liberty played in Brooklyn. The Storm won 84-69 on Sunday.
“I really enjoyed it. If I had been at the game as a fan I would have enjoyed it,” Hughes said. “That’s what excites me about the WNBA in New York City when you do that. When you’re here on a Sunday afternoon at 3 o’clock with that kind of audience that’s the way it should be. It was a great atmosphere for our players, their players, the league, everything. I felt it. It was definitely an away environment for us. That’s what it should be like. That’s where the game is beautiful.”
The Liberty have played a majority of their games in Westchester the past two seasons. The team was bought by a group led by Nets owner Joe Tsai in the offseason.
The team played an exhibition game against China’s national team in the preseason at Barclays. The Liberty could potentially play home games at the arena next year. There was a crowd of 7,715 with the lower bowl of Barclays Center mostly full. New York had been averaging nearly a third of that while playing in Westchester at the County Center the past two seasons.
“It wasn’t a shocker to me the turnout,” said Liberty forward Tina Charles, who had 20 of her 22 points in the first half. “The organization has a great following. This is an ideal location for our fans to get to. It wasn’t a shocker to me.”
The fans had a lot to cheer about early on as New York held a 45-43 halftime lead. Then Seattle took over in the third quarter. The Storm (14-11) built a 58-49 advantage midway through the period. New York cut its deficit to five before Seattle scored 10 straight, including five in a row by Clark.
New York couldn’t get within eight the rest of the way.
Alysha Clark scored 21 points to lead Seattle.
MISCUES: New York was plagued by turnover problems again. The Liberty had 19 against Seattle, including nine in the third quarter when Seattle pulled away.
“(If you look at the last few games we’ve been losing it’s all turnovers,” said Bria Hartley, who had 17 points.
TRAINING ROOM: The Liberty were missing starting forward Amanda Zahui B. who is sidelined with a concussion. She’s in concussion protocol right now according to coach Katie Smith. New York was also missing Asia Durr, who re-injured her groin in practice this week. … Seattle was still missing guard Sue Bird, who had surgery on her knee in May. Bird was in attendance sitting on the bench, one of the rare times she’s traveled on the road with the Storm this season. Bird is from New York and had a few friends and family at the game.