WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The Liberty walked off the court Sunday on the losing end for the ninth straight time and the 23rd time overall to tie the franchise’s single-season record with four daunting road games left. So this likely will be the team’s worst season ever, and that will sting the face of the franchise.
“It’s embarrassing,” Tina Charles said after the Liberty lost, 86-77, to Atlanta in the home finale at Westchester County Center, dropping them to 7-23.
“It’s a disappointment. I don’t think there are any other words that describe this season. This organization, New York Liberty, what it stands for in the WNBA.
“The fact that we still have [original star Teresa Weatherspoon] around [as director of player development], it really breaks my heart just what’s going on and what our record is. I put a lot on myself.”
Charles played all 40 minutes and scored 26 points to top the Liberty as they wind down their 22nd season. Because of injuries, they had just eight players available to face a Dream team that’s first in the East and second overall at 22-10.
“We just haven’t played well enough to get these wins,” said Katie Smith, the first-year head coach who rated her work this season as “decent” and “solid.”
Smith wasn’t sure if the transition to a new primary home arena impacted the results. The Liberty went 4-11 here and 0-2 at MSG.
“We had very high expectations coming into the season,” Bria Hartley said. “We just hope we can learn from it and get better for next season.”
Renee Montgomery buried seven of her franchise-record eight threes and scored 25 of her 30 points after the intermission. The seven threes set a WNBA single-half record. The guard from UConn powered the Dream to their sixth straight win and third straight since All-Star forward Angel McCoughtry suffered a season-ending ACL tear.
“I was just sad because we’re on a roll right now and I know [McCoughtry] wants to be a part of it,” Montgomery said. “It’s the next-man-up mentality. We have so much talent.”
Montgomery hit four of her threes to spark a 27-1 third-quarter run that began with 21 consecutive points. The Liberty went from leading 50-37 to trailing 64-51. Montgomery had five threes and 16 points in the period. The Liberty got outscored 32-10 and trailed 69-58 after three.