SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Stars used a fourth quarter serge to defeat the New York Liberty 93-81 in front of 3,430 fans at the AT&T Center on Tuesday night.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Silver and Black, who got their first win since July 20. The mistakes San Antonio continues to make in the final quarter were not found on Tuesday. The Stars outscored New York 28-12 in the fourth quarter and never left any doubt of a let down.
San Antonio played their three-guard lineup of Kayla McBride, Moriah Jefferson, and Kelsey Plum in the second half. The trio combined for 49 of San Antonio’s 93 points in the win as the Stars shot over 47 percent for the game.
“I think we had a little bit of confidence,” McBride said. “Not everything went our way, they made some shots and things like that, but at the end of the day we stuck to our schemes, we stuck to the process, and it ended up falling our way.”
McBride scored a career-high 31 points on 9-of-22 shooting. Kayla Alexander got her first start of the season and posted a career-high 19 points to go along with six rebounds. Plum added 10 points for San Antonio, who opened a three-game homestand.
San Antonio closed the fourth quarter 16-2 run in the final five minutes of action, beginning with a pair of free throws from Plum. The Stars locked in defensively and forced New York into 14 turnovers, which turned into 22 points for San Antonio.
I felt we played with passion, heart and desire; we played together,” Stars coach Vickie Johnson said. “Yes, we made mistakes. Defensively, we didn’t set screens. We missed easy shots, but we didn’t drop our heads. It’s very key for our young team to continue to play through the mistakes, continue to have confidence in their skill set and to continue to play for the team.”
The game was a far cry from Sunday’s 17 point defeat to the Brittney Griner-less Phoenix Mercury. San Antonio turned the ball over, shot poorly from the field, and looked poor from start to finish. However, Tuesday showed the Stars players and their fans what a bright future this Stars squad can have.
“I can tell you all this stuff and you can listen and it could work,” Johnson said. “But when it comes down to when you play against better teams, the Tina Charles’ and the elite player, it’s going to take heart, passion and determination. It’s going to take discipline and consistency; and that’s the most important thing for all of us.”
Bria Hartley led the Liberty in scoring with 17 points. Tina Charles came into the game averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. The All-Star forward was limited to 13 points on 6-of-16 shooting and six rebounds.
“I think we turned the ball over and gave them too many second chance opportunities,” New York coach Bill Laimbeer said. “We had the game under control at that point [start of third]. We just couldn’t get enough going and we got tired.”
- Game notes: The post trio of Dearica Hamby, Kayla Alexander, and Isabelle Harrison combined for 36 points and nine assists in Tuesday’s win. McBride’s five three-pointers were one shy of her career high (6). The victory on Tuesday ensures San Antonio will not finish with the worst record in league history held by the 2011 Tulsa Shock, who finished 3-31.
Up next: The Stars are now 4-21 on the season and will return to the court on Friday when they welcome the Washington Mystics to the AT&T Center at 7 p.m.