Liberty defeat Mystics in overtime, 79-76; Charles eclipses 3K career points

Box score

The New York Liberty defeated the Washington Mystics 79-76 Thursday afternoon in an overtime contest in front of thousands of school kids at the Verizon Center. It was the first overtime game for the Liberty this season.

The game was locked in a tie at 2:03 in the fourth quarter when the lights in the arena went out. After 17 minutes, power was restored and the contest went into overtime after Mystics center Stefanie Dolson missed a three-pointer following made free throws by Liberty veteran guard Tanisha Wright. The Liberty outscored the Mystics 10-7 in overtime.

Tina Charles paced New York with 21 points and 10 rebounds, eclipsing 3,000-career points.  She tied Tamika Catchings and Sheryl Swoopes for the 10th-fastest to score 3,000 points. It was her her 175th-career game. She now has 3,005-career points and 1,830 rebounds. It was also her fifth double-double of the season and the 102nd of her career.

Sugar Rodgers added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Liberty, it was her seventh straight game in double figures. Epiphanny Prince and Wright scored 12 points each. It was Prince’s season debut  after missing the first 10 games of the season to compete in the Eurobasket 2015 Women Tournament. She came off the bench to play 31 minutes.

Dolson led the Mystics with a double-double, 22 points and 13 rebounds. It was her third double-double of the season and a career high in rebounds. She shot 11-for-18 from the field. Other Washington players in double figures included Kara Lawson (14 points, five assists), Ivory Latta (12 points) and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (10 points).

New York is in second place in the Eastern Conference behind the Connecticut Sun (7-3) and the Mystics are in third.

The Liberty visit Atlanta on Sunday while the Mystics head to Chicago for a game next Wednesday, July 15.


  • New York shot 11-of-16 and scored 30 points in the second quarter. That matched the highest scoring quarter of the year for the Liberty and the 50 points in the first half trailed just 51 in the first half of the season opener against Atlanta.
  • The Liberty continued its dominance in the paint, outscoring Washington 44-14 on the interior.
  • The Liberty held a 25-10 edge in bench scoring.
  • Kiah Stokes swatted five shots, all in the second half and overtime, and now has 25 this season.
  • The Mystics lost their first game in the series against the Liberty. The teams will meet in September for the final game of the series.


Mystics head coach Mike Thibault

Overall thoughts on the game

“Points in the paint were 44 to 14 and rebounds 44 to 34. We don’t come up with the loose ball and Tina Charles picks it up off the floor and gives them the lead. We had three chances on that possession to actually gain possession of the ball. We knock it out of each other’s hands, we don’t come up with it and then they do and that’s kind of the story of why you lose games like that.”

On back to back losses

“We have to go back to work. We have a bunch of games to get ready and try and get ourselves back on track. I saw some improvements in some areas today, but we just can’t depend on making 3’s to help us win the game. We were 5 for 20 and that’s just not good enough. We have to do all the dirty work too. When we get in foul trouble and put the other team on the line if we would have just won the rebounding battle we would have won the game. “

On Stefanie Dolson’s game

“She had a great game. I thought she was going to get a good look at the end of regulation but I think she just rushed it a little bit. 3 seconds is a long time, but you get sped up sometimes in those situations and she was straight on but just a little bit flat.”

Mystics guard Kara Lawson

Reasons for the loss

“We just have to really improve defensively as a group and we have to get into the lane. We are out of the lane and then posts are going to help and there’s no one to help them so you know it’s something we got to do. We’ve talked about it and it’s not like we haven’t practiced it. We  had some lapses there down the stretch, I know I did.

It’s frustrating to lose this type of game where it’s so close and I think either team had they lost would have said we should of won this game. It was right there for us to take and we just didn’t execute and they did and when they miss their initial shot they found a way to get another one when one of their players got beat they collapsed and they were able to get that turnover late.

It’s just a frustrating lose because we had an opportunity to win the season series against those guys and get three wins but now we have to wait a little bit again to play. That’s the other frustrating thing it’s like now it’s been two weeks since you have won with the way the schedule is and that’s always hard. That’s one great thing about the pro schedule, sometimes when you lose you get to play right away but we defiantly have some work to do in practice.”

Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer

On playing the Mystics for the third time

“It was the same thing as before. We just had to shoot better. They’re a sound defense team. We shot in the thirties the first couple times we played them. We’re a little different team now then we were then. We are more confident now in our ability. We have Epiphanny Prince back as another scorer for us but overall I think we had a sound game plan to keep them off the glass; They killed us in the first half, second half we took care of business then.”

Liberty center Tina Charles

Team approach on playing the Mystics

“Just approach it like a playoff game, that’s our mind set…to start the season we say we want to approach every game like a playoff game. The past games we didn’t but having Epiphanny Prince back, I think that was a big lift for us. That gave us a boost of confidence. It was just a great overall team win for defense; really just shut them down so it was great.”

By the Numbers

Rebounds: Liberty 44, Washington 34
Points in the Paint: Liberty 44, Mystics 14
Second Chance Points: Liberty 12, Mystics 20
Fastbreak Points: Liberty 5, Mystics 4
Turnovers: Liberty 16, Washington 12
Biggest Lead: Liberty 10, Mystics 9
Lead Changes: 8
Times Tied: 7

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