There is never a good time to lose. Every day, you want to triumph and create more for the future. Everybody loses occasionally; it’s a fact of life. However, certain losses are just unjustifiable.
The New York Liberty faced the Phoenix Mercury on Saturday night to kick off their four-game road trip. Diana Taurasi had a quadriceps injury and will miss this game; it was confirmed just before tip-off. All predictions led to the Liberty winning because the Phoenix team was missing two stars. That didn’t occur, and the Liberty suffered a devastating defeat that will have a significant impact on their quest for the playoffs.
The Phoenix Mercury defeated the New York Liberty 76-62 on Saturday night despite the absence of guards Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith thanks to 25 points from Diamond DeShields and 20 points from Shey Peddy.
Sabrina displayed a record-setting performance
The only player in WNBA history to record at least 200 assists, 200 rebounds, and 500 points during the same season was Sabrina Ionescu, who did so just 29 seconds into the game on a Crystal Dangerfield 3-pointer. Diggins-Smith and Taurasi, who skipped his second consecutive game due to an ankle injury, were replaced by DeShields and Peddy.
For the final playoff berth, Phoenix (14-19) moved a half-game ahead of the Liberty, maintaining its playoff chances. There are still three home games for the Mercury.
The Liberty (13-19) still have four games left, including two away at Dallas and a home-and-home series with Atlanta to finish the year.
For the Mercury, Sophie Cunningham contributed with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Ionescu led the Liberty in scoring with 22 points, five rebounds, and five assists. After undergoing meniscus surgery, Betnijah Laney played her first game since May 17 after returning. In just under 21 minutes of play, she scored seven goals.
In the second half, Natasha Howard was lost for the Liberty due to an ankle injury. The Liberty commanded the courts last week when they defeated the Mercury. This time, the Mercury outplayed the Liberty 40-35, which is remarkable given their size and manpower deficiencies. Phoenix fought and outhustled the Liberty on far too many opportunities, resulting in nine offensive rebounds.
The Liberty are now heading south to face the Dallas Wings on Monday.