Taurasi reaches 8,000-point plateau as Mercury spoil Liberty’s return to MSG

Photo Credit: George A. Faella/Newsday

In addition to it being School Day at Madison Square Garden, it was also one of two occasions this season where the New York Liberty called their usual MSG home their home court.

One can say that both the Liberty and their opponents – the Phoenix Mercury – earned passing grades for their performances, but Phoenix got a few more questions correct than New York down the stretch via the Mercury’s 80-74 victory at the Garden.

Along with the return to MSG, there was an added boost for New York as two of their important players in Sugar Rodgers and Brittany Boyd returned to action after sustaining injuries.

The headline after the game was that it was another history-making contest for Diana Taurasi. Already the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer, she added another bullet point to her Hall of Fame resume by reaching the 8,000-point plateau.

Along with the 21 points and eight rebounds that Taurasi put up, Brittney Griner also had another big performance as she put up 26 points. DeWanna Bonner added 18.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Liberty assumed a 74-73 lead after a three-pointer by Marissa Coleman, but they went scoreless in the remaining three-plus minutes as the Mercury went ahead by the eventual six-point margin. Phoenix was also much more successful than the Liberty in getting to the free throw line, shooting 19 shots from the charity stripe to only five for New York.

Both New York players that tallied double-digit point outings were in the starting lineup for head coach Katie Smith. Tina Charles scored 25 points and Bria Hartley finished with 18. Kia Nurse, who scored 34 points off the bench in the Liberty’s victory on the road at the Indiana Fever, only had five points in 23 minutes of play.

On Thursday, New York resumes play in Westchester as they host the undefeated Connecticut Sun. As for Sandy Brondello’s Mercury, they return home on Friday as they await the Chicago Sky.

By: Akiem Bailum (@AkiemBailum on Twitter, Instagram)

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