Betnijah Laney scored 19 factors and Jazmine Jones had 12 of her 17 factors within the second half to assist the New York Liberty rally from an 18-point deficit and beat the Washington Mystics 82-79 on Saturday at Barclays Heart, spoiling the homecoming of Tina Charles.
The previous Liberty star and native New Yorker was traded to Washington as a part of a three-team deal earlier than the 2020 season. The Liberty used the picks they received from the Mystics to draft Jones and Leaonna Odom.
Charles helped Washington construct an 18-point halftime benefit earlier than New York rallied behind Jones to take an 80-79 lead with 52.1 seconds left on Reshanda Grey’s layup on a cross from Sabrina Ionescu. The 2020 No. 1 choose had 5 factors and assisted on two baskets within the remaining 4:10 of the sport.
“She was huge for us down the stretch. That was classic Sabrina,” Liberty coach Walt Hopkins mentioned. “Needed to handle her minutes or she would have performed much more.”
Washington had probabilities to take the lead within the remaining minute, however Charles missed two free throws with 52.1 seconds left. After an offensive foul with 23.6 seconds left by New York, the Mystics had three extra alternatives. Charles handed to Leilani Mitchell within the nook for a 3 that missed. Charles received the offensive rebound and Zellous missed one other jumper.
Charles then corralled yet another board earlier than she was known as for an offensive foul with 2.3 seconds left.
Laney hit two free throws to seal the win for New York (9-9).
“I missed three key free throws,” mentioned Charles of the previous few minutes when she additionally missed a technical foul free throw. “Leilani had an important look, (Zellous) had an important look.”
Charles completed with 31 factors and 16 rebounds. She is having an MVP-type season for Washington (7-10) after getting medical exemption final 12 months due to the danger of extreme issues from contracting COVID-19. She got here into the sport averaging a career-best 25.5 factors and 9.1 rebounds.
Rebecca Allen and Reshanda Grey are the one gamers left from Charles’ time in New York. Allen was in a strolling boot on her proper foot and missed her third straight recreation.
“A Lot of individuals requested me if I used to be going to be emotional. My dream was to play on the Backyard and that’s what I did. It’s completely different enjoying right here,” Charles mentioned. “This can be a whole new group, whole completely different people who find themselves right here. Invoice Laimbeer isn’t right here, Dan Padover, Kristin Bernert. The individuals who believed in me and introduced me right here. In the event that they had been nonetheless right here it will be an entire completely different story. Enjoying towards a staff that occurs to be in New York for me.”
Charles helped the Liberty to the most effective file within the Japanese Convention from 2015-17, however the staff couldn’t get to the WNBA Finals.
After the primary quarter — through which Charles had six factors, three rebounds, two blocks and a steal — the Liberty performed a video tribute to the franchise’s all-time main scorer and rebounder. She received a pleasant ovation from the group, which she stood and waved to.
“That was cool. I used to be stunned,” Charles mentioned.
Washington led 28-15 after one quarter.