Brooklyn, NY —Sometimes all it takes is some home-cooked meals and familiar surroundings to get you back on track. But if the NY Liberty want to salvage their season-they have to play better defense on the perimeter.
The Liberty did just that, Indiana missed their first 11 shots of the game and fell behind quickly. And it looked like smooth sailing in the first quarter until the Fever woke up in the second.
Sabrina Ionescu poured in 23 points, Rebecca Allen chipped in 17 and the New York Liberty beat the Indiana Fever 87-74 on Wednesday night in front of 4.079 to snap a seven-game losing streak.
Along with Allen’s 17 points, she shot 50% (6-12) from the hardwood, five boards, and three assists.
“For us it was pace, our pace was really bad,” Fever Kelsey Mitchell said. “Missing out on a lot of defensive assignments. We’re really good in transition and because we couldn’t really hammer down on the defensive end, it was hard for us to get back in transition because they kept scoring. So I think that’s our next level of maturation sticking to those defensive assignments and knowing personnel.”
The Fever’s slow start in the first quarter put them in a hole, in the second quarter they got into an offensive grove and rhythm. In three minutes of play, Indiana trimmed a 15-point deficit into a one-point advantage. Indiana’s defense locked up New York players on the wings, forcing the Libs to turn the ball over.
The Fever scored only 33 points in the second quarter, making four three-pointers in that time span. After a 47-40 halftime advantage, Indiana started out hot in the second half, then New York regained control with a 10-0 spurt.
New York went on another run this time it was a 13-0 spurt in the third to take a 53-52 lead on Natasha Howard’s three-point play. The Liberty also went on a 12-0 run, capped off by Allen’s 3-pointer, in the fourth to make it 77-68.
The Liberty outscored the Fever 47-27 in the second half and held Indiana to 1-of-16 shooting in the fourth quarter.
Kelsey Mitchell scored 17 points for Indiana (3-9), which lost to Washington on Tuesday in the first of a back-to-back. Victoria Vivians chipped in 14 points and Hartley had 10.
“I thought we just had a problem with the ball sticking. I think we had several players that felt like they could get it going themselves. We fell into a 1-on-1 mindset a little bit. To me I felt like we didn’t do a great job of moving the ball. They jumped in the passing lanes a few times and disrupted what we had going offensively.
“But at the same time when it did open up in transition with a few opportunities on the offensive end, the transition baskets that we did score opened us up for different things. That’s one of our strengths. With a young group, we can really run and push the ball, so we really need that to happen for us to get comfortable and I thought we kind of got away from that tonight.” Indiana coach Carlos Knox said.
Howard and Stefanie Dolson each scored 16 points for New York (2-7). Ionescu reached the 20-point plateau for the third time this season.
The Fever travel to take on the Atlanta Dream on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.
Liberty will travel down route 95 to play the Washington Mystics on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.