NEW YORK – The San Antonio Stars fell 81-69 to the New York Liberty in front of 10,108 fans at Madison Square Garden in the penultimate game of the 2017 season for the Silver and Black.
The result was less than ideal for San Antonio coach Vickie Johnson, who is hoping for a strong finish for her team, who had won seven of their last 18 games. The Stars were without Moriah Jefferson, who missed her third straight game due to knee soreness.
San Antonio kept the game close until the final quarter. New York held the Stars to just nine points in the final 10 minutes, outscoring them 16-9. The Liberty raced out to a 12 point lead and never got under single digits the final 4:37 of the game.
“The first three quarters we played very well,” Johnson said. “The last quarter we didn’t share the basketball, we had one assist. We started dribbling too much, giving them open shots, open looks. They’re a very good team, a very disciplined team. They have a lot of players that can make big shots and that’s what they did.”
Rookie Kelsey Plum got the start for Jefferson and did not disappoint. Plum finished with 18 points on 45 percent shooting, connecting on 3-of-4 from three-point range. Kayla Alexander added 15 points and nine rebounds, while Isabelle Harrison had 10.
San Antonio kept the game close until the fourth quarter, where they ran out of steam. The Stars committed six turnovers, sparking an 8-1 run for New York. That run would be the undoing for the Silver and Black at the world’s most famous arena.
Epiphany Price and Tina Charles paced the home town Liberty with 16 points apiece. Shavonte Zellous added 10 for New York (21-12), who earned a first round bye and are in search of a top three seed in the playoffs.
“A lot of our shots were going in and out,” Zellous said. “I think what was key [to turning it around] was that we didn’t drop on defense. They were able to make some tough shots but we didn’t put our heads down and we just kept playing.”
- Game notes: Kayla McBride dished out a career-high eight assists in the loss. Kelsey Plum led the team in scoring with 18 points, but finished a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line for the 13th time this season.
Up next: The Stars are now 7-26 on the season and will close out the 2017 season tomorrow night in Indianapolis against the Indiana Fever at 6 p.m.