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Shorthanded Liberty defeat Lynx for second win in a row

The Liberty's Kia Nurse, left, looks to pass

The Liberty's Kia Nurse, left, looks to pass the ball away from the Lynx's Danielle Robinson during the first half of a WNBA game on Wednesday in White Plains, N.Y. Photo Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The wrong-way streak finally came to an end Sunday when the Liberty beat Las Vegas, stopping their 17-game slide that dated to last season. But their bid to start a streak in the right direction was about to get more difficult.

Bria Hartley, the reserve guard from North Babylon, left Monday to join the French national team that will play in the EuroBasket tournament. Then reserve forward/guard Rebecca Allen was lost indefinitely Tuesday when a male player hit her right hand during practice, breaking the third metacarpal.

So the Liberty were shorthanded Wednesday night when they faced Minnesota at Westchester County Center. But they still won, 75-69, thanks mainly to the starters, who scored every point.

Kia Nurse played all 40 minutes and scored 11 of her season-high 26 in the fourth. Rookie Asia Durr had her best WNBA game so far with 20, and Amanda Zahui B contributed 15 points and 13 rebounds. Now the Liberty have their first two-game winning streak since last July.

“It’s each and every person taking a little bit of that extra role, and we saw that today,” Nurse said about losing Hartley and Allen. “Total team effort. The balanced scoring on the offensive end and then getting key stops defensively was what allowed us to win the game.”    

A Liberty representative said Allen doesn’t need surgery and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Zahui B leaves June 20 to play for Sweden in the EuroBasket tournament, which runs June 27-July 7. Kiah Stokes and Marine Johannes haven’t joined the Liberty yet. They’re tournament-bound, too.

“Next man up,” coach Katie Smith said.

The Liberty (2-4) had a 71-67 lead with 1:46 remaining. Durr hit a jumper, but Odyssey Sims scored inside for Minnesota (4-3) to cut it to 73-69 with 42.5 seconds left.

Then Durr split two defenders on the way to a driving bank shot at 20.9.

\“Yes, we had a great team win; yes, I played pretty good,” Durr said. “But defense right now is key for me. … Not satisfied at all.”

The Liberty led by 15 in the second quarter. The Lynx had it down to two early in the fourth.

But Nurse countered with a three-pointer, a jumper and a free throw on a bench technical against the injured Seimone Augustus to make it 61-53.

So make it two straight. Said Nurse, “Great obviously for our confidence.”

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