It wasn’t their day. And truth be told, it hasn’t been the Liberty’s day since July 15, 2018.
That’s the last time they won a regular-season game. Since then, they have lost 17 straight. And though Friday night’s 94-85 loss to the Mystics showcased the energy and effort that sometimes was lacking in their first two games of the season, the truth remains that this Liberty team is 0-4 (0-3 at home) and in danger of trudging on some unpleasant new ground. Because, though Friday’s loss wasn’t historic, it’s starting to get close: The Tulsa Shock lost 20 straight in 2011, the worst consecutive-game stretch in WNBA history.
“It isn’t a carry-over,” coach Katie Smith said of the losing streak. “It’s a brand-new team. Last year is last year. It really doesn’t even faze us. I’m pleased. They’re working in practice. They have great energy every single day. They know — I told them today — how close they are. This league is tough. It comes down, every single night, to five, seven points. Especially for us.”
Tina Charles had 27 points and Bria Hartley added 14 for the Liberty, but it wasn’t enough to neutralize the forces of Natasha Cloud (26 points, eight assists) and four other Mystics players in double digits, including Elena Delle Donne (13 points, eight rebounds).
took a number of leads in the first three quarters. Then the Mystics outscored them 22-17, including runs of 8-0 and 7-0.
“We battled,” Smith said. “I thought we gave ourselves a shot. Too many turnovers, too many easy buckets, [they] got to the rim, got too many layups . . . Overall, pleased. Overall, I know we can play with anyone in this league. We’re building. It’s not fun to lose, but we’re on our way to put some things together to get ourselves in the win column.”
It was another frustrating night in a seemingly unending string of them.