New York Liberty: Kia Nurse joins TSN as basketball analyst

Kia Nurse, New York Liberty

The New York Liberty All-Star will join her native Canada’s top sports network for their ongoing coverage of the NBA and WNBA postseason.

New York Liberty guard Kia Nurse is adding another skill to her expansive resume.

The Liberty announced on Tuesday that Nurse will be joining Canadian sports network TSN (The Sports Network) for their continuing coverage of the NBA and WNBA playoffs. Labeled “Canada’s Sports Network”, TSN boasts five national channels and carries numerous domestic and international events across their airwaves.

Nurse, a Hamilton, Ontario native, returns to TSN after making her debut during the 2019 NCAA basketball championships. She assured fans Liberty and Team Canada fans that her broadcasting duties would not interfere with her on-court material.

“I’ve truly enjoyed my time in front of the camera as much as I have playing basketball and I’m honoured [sic] to be back to talk about the game I love,” said Nurse in a statement released by the Liberty and TSN. “I’m excited to join the amazing team at TSN, and look forward to expanding my experience as a broadcaster.”

Nurse and her family have routinely appeared on TSN throughout the years. Her father Richard was a receiver for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and her cousin Sarah has represented Team Canada hockey in numerous international tournaments. Nurse’s brother Darnell also plays for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers (whose television rights are owned by competitor Rogers Media).

Chosen 10th overall in the 2018 WNBA Draft, Nurse recently wrapped up her third season with the Liberty. She averaged 12.2 points and a career-best 2.9 rebounds in the Bradenton bubble, servings as a self-described “baby vet” on a team that dressed seven rookies throughout the course of the 2020 season. Nurse was elected to her first WNBA All-Star team last season.

“We’re extremely excited to have an elite and instantly recognizable Canadian basketball personality in Kia Nurse join our team and connect with fans across the country,” said Nathalie Cook, Vice-President of TSN, in the statement. “We will continue to cheer Kia on in her all-star role on the court, and she will elevate our broadcasts with her insights and in-depth knowledge of the game.”

Nurse has made her mark on Team Canada’s basketball endeavors in recent years. In 2015, the University of Connecticut alumna was named the MVP of the FIBA Americas Women’s Championship, guiding Canada to their first top finish in the tournament since 1995. Nurse would cap things off with a team-best 20 points in the 82-66 win over Cuba in the gold medal game. She is expected to return to duties with Team Canada for the Summer Olympics next year in Tokyo.

The WNBA playoffs continue on Tuesday night, with the Connecticut Sun seeking a 2-0 series lead on the Las Vegas Aces (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Meanwhile, the semifinal matchup between the top-ranked Seattle Storm and the Minnesota Lynx gets underway immediately after, as inconclusive COVID-19 tests postponed the series opener on Sunday. Both the semifinal and WNBA Final stages are best-of-five.

The NBA’s semifinals likewise continue on Tuesday, as the Los Angeles Lakers seek a commanding 3-0 lead on the Denver Nuggets (9 p.m. ET, TNT).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty sign Kiah Stokes to contract extension

One of the New York Liberty’s “baby vets” has re-upped with the team after developing a three-point prowess.

Kiah Stokes is taking home quite the souvenir from her visit to Florida.

Hours before her New York Liberty’s Bradenton bubble finale against the Dallas Wings on Sunday (12 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Go/CBSSN), Stokes was granted a contract extension through the 2021 season. The University of Connecticut alumna is set to wrap up her fifth season with the team after arriving as a first-round pick (11th overall) in 2015.

“Kiah is an integral part of our team and she has shown tremendous growth in her game both offensively and defensively this season,” Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb said in a team statement. “As one of the best shot blockers in the league, her physicality and ability to stretch the defense is something that is integral to the Liberty’s culture and future success.”

Stokes, 27, is one of the most experienced players on a Liberty roster hosting six rookies, having returned to the team after spending all of the 2019 WNBA season overseas. She is the only player to start and partake in every Liberty game this season. In only her fourth season, Stokes became the Liberty’s all-time leader in blocks (at 187 entering Sunday).

This season, Stokes discovered a newfound three-point prowess, encouraged by the oversight of new head coach Walt Hopkins. Having taken only three in her WNBA career entering the bubble, she took 83 this season. She sank a career-best five in Saturday’s showdown with the Washington Mystics.

It’s possible that this newfound talent could fit in well when the Liberty’s sharp-shooting veterans Rebecca Allen, Marine Johannes, and Asia Durr presumably return in 2021. Each opted out of the Bradenton setup in the wake of the ongoing health crisis.

“Stokes has been a rock for this group in a lot of ways,” Hopkins said prior to Sunday’s game. “In spite of her going through what has to have been the most difficult mental season in terms of being uncomfortable, when you’re uncomfortable, you’re able to grow.”

A Cedar Rapids native, Stokes is the daughter of former NBA draft pick Greg Stokes, who played two seasons in Philadelphia and Sacramento. She is also well-accomplished on the international level, earning back-to-back Turkish Women’s Basketball Cups with Fenerbahçe, a long-running squad based in Istanbul.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty: Kiah Stokes sets career record in penultimate 2020 game

Kiah Stokes’ summer of shooting allowed her to set a new career-best in the New York Liberty’s penultimate game of the 2020 season.

Trips to Florida can provide full of life-changing experiences. Visiting the Sunshine State for business purposes, Kiah Stokes has had one in her return to the New York Liberty.

The Liberty fell to the Washington Mystics on Saturday by a 75-58 final in their penultimate game in the WNBA’s Bradenton bubble. But personal history awaited Stokes, who tallied all of her 15 points on five successful attempts from three-point range. Stokes tied for the lead in scoring with Kia Nurse.

“I was excited to get a new feel for everything. Basically, for as long as I had been in New York it was Tina Charles’ team,” Stokes said of her new role as both a shooter and veteran leader. “I was a little nervous going into this season, but I think Walt Hopkins has done a great job with the system. He’s really put a lot of confidence in me.”

“It was nervous for me in the beginning, but the coaching staff and all my teammates have a lot of confidence in me. I’m thankful for that, thankful for the coaching staff putting me in this position, trying to expand my game.”

In her fifth season, Stokes is by far one of the longest-tenured players on the current Liberty roster. She maintained a traditional interior prescience in her first few seasons, becoming the Liberty’s all-time leading in blocks in 2018. After spending all of last season overseas, Stokes joined the Liberty (2-19) for their Floridian adventure overseen by new head coach Walt Hopkins.

Under Hopkins, Stokes developed a new role as a shooter, particularly from three-point range. The Connecticut alumna took over three shots since her WNBA entry in 2015. She’s taken 83 this time around with one game to go.

“She’s been doing what she’s been doing from three. The shots went down for her tonight. She sees one go in, that helps her confidence,” Hopkins said. “We’ve been trying to tell everybody about how much we believe in her. I was really happy she was able to have that day from three.”

The shots fell on Saturday for Stokes, who helped the Liberty keep pace with the defending champion Mystics. Even in defeat, the New Yorkers were happy to revel in Stokes’ big day.

“We’ve been seeing her shoot the ball like that in practice since we got here, since day one,” Nurse said. “We’ve been really encouraging her to keep shooting it and knocking down three’s like we know she can. It was fun to see her go on that little run she had today.”

Washington (8-13) was able to secure a split in their pair with the Liberty. The Mystics are current holders of the eighth and final playoff spot in the bubble standings. They can clinch with a win in Sunday’s season finale proceedings or if the Liberty beat the Dallas Wings in the first of three games across the league (12 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Go/CBSSN).

Myisha Hines-Allen had a double-double for the Mystics, tallying 25 points and 11 rebounds. Washington pulled away with a 21-11 advantage in the third quarter, with nine of the New York points scored by Stokes. The Liberty had a bit of a scare in the second quarter when star rookie Jazmine Jones left the game with an ankle injury, but she returned after the halftime break. Jones, the final pick of the WNBA draft’s first round, made her first career WNBA start.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty: Paris Kea earns a career-night in latest loss

The New York Liberty fell to their sisters in elimination from Indiana, but the midseason acquisition Kea had a career-best 21 points.

Another New York Liberty loss on Thursday night nonetheless yielded more personal history for members of their young roster.

Paris Kea tallied a career-best 21 points while Jazmine Jones put in 10 rebounds. Their efforts weren’t enough to prevent an 85-75 loss to the Indiana Fever, but strong efforts from the young players were signs of the growth that the Liberty endlessly sought in a trying season.

“Jones is such an aggressive player,” head coach Walt Hopkins noted. “I think she gets fed up at times. It’s part of what makes her brilliant. She’s so hard to guard.”

Kea returned to the starting lineup on Thursday, subbing for the injured Layshia Clarendon. The latter is set to miss the remainder of the Liberty’s seasons with a back ailment.

In only her ninth game of the season, Kea’s strong shooting allowed the Liberty (2-18) to build an early lead then keep pace when Indiana (6-15) began to build a lead thanks to Teaira McCowan’s antics off the bench in the second quarter. The second-year reserve sank each of her six shots in the first half but late triples from Kea and Kia Nurse helped New York trim their halftime deficit to 46-42. Nurse was right behind Kea with 18 points. Thursday saw Nurse scored her 1,000th career WNBA point in her third season.

The rise of Kea has been one of the Liberty’s more intriguing stories in the Bradenton bubble. Injuries forced the Liberty’s hand in adding Kea, who spent her rookie season in Indiana. She praised her teammates’ energy for inspiring her to take shots en route to her best single-game numbers.

“I take it one game at a time, trying to get better. I want to win,” Kea said. “Every night I’m going in with all I got to win. That’s really my mentality: to find however I can contribute to the team and get a W.”

Jones, the final pick of the most recent WNBA Draft’s first round, returned to action after sitting out the entirety of the Liberty’s Tuesday tilt against Los Angeles. She fell just short of a double-double with nine points accompanying her decalogue of rebounds.

In a battle of the only two WNBA teams to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the Fever took over the game with a strong fourth, outscoring New York 23-13. Candice Dupree led all scorers with 22 points in victory, while Kelsey Mitchell added 14 more.

The Liberty will play their penultimate game of the bubble season on Saturday afternoon against the defending champion Washington Mystics (12 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Go/CBSSN). New York will look for a season sweep, with one of their two wins coming against Washington on August 7.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

 

Joyner Holmes history not enough for New York Liberty

Joyner Holmes led a stellar day off the bench for the New York Liberty, but another tough loss awaited nonetheless.

Rookie history wasn’t enough to keep the New York Liberty away from another tough loss as their WNBA bubble experience comes close to popping.

Joyner Holmes became the first New York rookie to register a double-double with at least 13 points and 13 rebounds, but the Phoenix Mercury countered with a season-best 30 points from Skylar Diggins-Smith en route to an 83-67 victory in Bradenton. Phoenix also enjoyed 15 points from Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and 13 rebounds from Brianna Turner.

“I knew I had to show up for my teammates in general. I think I did a pretty good job of that tonight,” Holmes said. “I really enjoy (the coach’s system). We just got to find our spots and keep moving. We can’t become stagnant, because that’s when we take possessions off. But, in general, I think the system is really good, especially with the players that we have. We can get good shots.”

The theme of growth continued in another loss for the Liberty (2-16). New York shot 4-of-32 from three-point range but Hopkins was pleased with the team’s lack of resistance to shoot with open looks. He made it clear that he was unwilling to trade instant wins for future development through his offensive gameplan.

“We’re generating so many good looks. There’s so many good looks from three,” Hopkins said. “Our percentage wasn’t stellar, and it’s gotten worse. But the thing we’re trying to get to here is a way to determine how to get those looks when we do have our fresh legs and shooters in there. They’re really doing a great job creating these shots. They’re just not dropping.”

“The fact they’re staying confident and continuing to shoot those shots is great. It’s frustrating to not make them. I’m as frustrated as anybody that they’re not going down. But I’m also probably more proud than most people because they’re sticking with it. That says a lot. They’re sticking with the system on both ends.”

Saturday’s effort was helped by the bench. The Liberty scored 42 off the bench with Holmes reaching double figures with Kia Nurse (11) and Jazmine Jones (10). New York’s bench efforts became necessary after further tough injury breaks. Starter Paris Kea was forced to leave the game in the first quarter after

Holmes took center stage in the fight, making team history in the process. By the end of the third quarter, Holmes’ rebound tally of 13 tied a New York rookie record previously set by DeTrina White back in 2004. Her matching point and rebound tallies were good for career-highs. Holmes was originally drafted by Seattle in the second round of April’s draft and joined with the Liberty after her release.

The historic rebounding effort headlined a strong night on the boards overall. New York had a season-high 21 rebounds, led by six from Jocelyn Willoughby (who had a career-high nine rebounds total. Yet another rookie, Leaonna Odom, had seven rebounds and earned strong reviews for the defensive job she did on Phoenix’s legendary shooter Diana Taurasi. With Odom covering her, the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer had only nine points, her first game under 10 since July 29.

Phoenix (12-7) used efforts from former Liberty representatives to their advantage. Walker-Kimbrough was originally part of the Liberty’s haul from Washington in the trade that sent Tina Charles to the nation’s capital but she was later dealt on draft night for the rights to Willoughby. Bronx native and former Liberty first-round choice Kia Vaughn had 12 points to go with eight rebounds. The Mercury are currently fighting for one of the WNBA’s top playoff spots and currently sit a game-and-a-half out of fourth place, which would net them a first-round bye. Saturday’s loss officially eliminated the Liberty from playoff contention.

The Liberty begin their final stages of the bubble endeavor on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Sparks (7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Go/CBSSN). Los Angeles previously took a 93-78 decision on August 11.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty bench impresses in strong effort vs. Connecticut

Kia Nurse, New York Liberty

Kia Nurse and Jazmine Jones united for 33 points for the New York Liberty in a decent effort against the defending WNBA finalists.

Growth was once again on display for the New York Liberty on Tuesday night, even if the scoreboard wasn’t willing to cooperate.

The Liberty bench tallied 49 points to help keep things respectable, led by a combined 33 from the Kia Nurse/Jazmine Jones tandem. But it wasn’t enough to counter a double-double showing from DeWanna Bonner, who tallied 27 points and 12 rebounds in a 70-65 victory for the Connecticut Sun.

New York (2-14) kept pace with a Connecticut squad in the midst of a playoff push. Head coach Walt Hopkins was pleased with the ensuing effort after his team trailed 18-8 after the first quarter. The Liberty wound up winning the second quarter 24-11 to build a 32-29 halftime lead.

“That second unit tends to do a pretty good job of picking up the energy,” Hopkins said of his bench. “That balance of having one or the other, having a group of players that picks us up, it’s what’s been keeping us in games throughout the year. It’s having the whole group show up consistently that’s been really hard.”

“The story of the game was really how well that second unit played, particularly in the second quarter to bring us back from an 18-8 first quarter. We ended up winning that second quarter 24-11, which is pretty remarkable for a young group. It was great to see.”

Nurse led all New York scorers in the effort with 18 points. Tuesday’s game saw her come off the bench for the first time since August 4, 2018, with Paris Kea taking her usual spot in the starting five. She shot 4-of-11 from the field but got to the foul line 12 times, sinking all but two of her attempts.

“We continued to play hard like we always do. We gave ourselves a chance to win this game,” Nurse remarked of the effort. “We cut it down a bit and traded baskets in the fourth. I think that confidence will help to move us forward in terms of growth as well.”

Assisting Nurse was the rookie Jones, who put in 15 points. Her fellow 2020 draft pick and Louisville alumna Kylee Shook had a perfect day from the field, sinking all four of her attempts from the field and also grabbing four rebounds. Amanda Zahui B followed up a 21-rebound showing on Saturday after against Las Vegas with 10 more against the Sun.

“(Shook) has been working really hard on being more physical,” Hopkins said. “It takes some time when you’re a longer player. You have to learn how to be physical, embrace physicality to create contact. She was so much better in that regard. There’s still room (for improvement), but Kylee really responded and gave us some great minutes.”

Alas for the Liberty, they were unable to sink a win from the defending WNBA finalists. The Sun (8-9) kept the Liberty in check during a strong fourth quarter, which saw them lead by as much as ten. Connecticut, stationed in seventh, is currently three games up on ninth-place Indiana, the first team out of the playoff proceedings. Their effort was helped by a sweep of the Liberty in the Bradenton bubble.

The Liberty return to action on Thursday night against the Atlanta Dream (6:30 p.m. ET, YES/CBSSN). Atlanta previously took an 84-78 decision on July 31.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty: Kia Nurse sinks team-best 17 in loss to Connecticut

Kia Nurse’s team-best 17 wasn’t enough to overcome a tough third-quarter, as the New York Liberty fell to Connecticut.

One brutal period and countless turnovers once again came back to bite the New York Liberty in the Bradenton bubble.

The Liberty lost the ball 18 times on Saturday night, which led to 33 points for the Connecticut Sun. Those missed chances and a ten-point defeat in the third quarter led to an 82-65 victory for the Sun, dooming the Liberty to their fourth straight double-digit loss. Alyssa Thomas had 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting, while DeWanna Bonner had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

“It’s really (about) continuing to find consistency, individually and collectively. That’s going to continue to be about us continuing to be hyper-focused on each individual, where we can get each player the ball where they’re most comfortable,” head coach Walt Hopkins said of the Liberty’s focus over their final nine games. “We really need to shore some things up defensively but it was really the turnovers again. Part of that comes from…people being in positions, being indecisive, and not playing with confidence. I think that’s probably the biggest thing contributing to those turnovers.”

After reaching 85 points on Thursday night against Chicago, the Liberty (1-12) struggled offensively, shooting 37 percent from the field. They were able to keep pace with physicality and stronger defense, as well as continued diversity in their scoring. Four New Yorkers had at least 10 points, one short of the output on Thursday. Kia Nurse paced the team with 17, while rookie Jazmine Jones had 11 more to reach double-figures for the sixth straight game.

But a tough third quarter, which saw the Liberty get outscored 21-11, proved to be their downfall as the team struggled to once again play a full 40 minutes. The team continued to celebrate the little victories, such as Jones’ streak and increased minutes, and Kiah Stokes’ rediscovered propensity to shoot from the outside (sinking two of six attempts and reaching double figures for the second straight game).

There’s no denying, however, that the endless stream of losses can take its toll on a squad, especially with little opportunities to right their wrongs thanks to the bubble’s congested schedule.

“We have so many young people. You can’t stop practice enough, you can’t stop the game enough, because we have to keep playing,” veteran guard Layshia Clarendon, she of 12 points, said. “I think that’s one of the hardest parts for me. I just want to stop, teach, and tell people things, but we don’t have that luxury. We’re practicing on TV every night through our games. You see the different point differentials in some of these losses.”

“Essentially, if you really look at what confidence is, you always have it. It’s just the fact that doubt, or concern…comes into your mind and clouds that,” Nurse added. “The confidence is there, it’s just behind some doubt. You just got to move it out of the way a little bit. You’ve got to be able to let it go. A lot of times, it can’t come from wins and losses. It has to come from the ability to know in yourself, and in your mind and heart that you put that work in.”

Defending WNBA finalists, Connecticut (6-8) has righted their ship, winning five of their last seven after a 1-6 start. The two teams will meet again on September 1.

The Liberty return to action on Tuesday night, facing a rematch with the aforementioned Chicago Sky (7 p.m., Fox Sports Go/CBSSN).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty, Sabrina Ionescu provide updates on injury status

sabrina ionescu, New York Liberty

The New York Liberty provided an update on the status of Sabrina Ionescu on Saturday. The top overall pick responded in style.

No matter when Sabrina Ionescu is ready to return, it appears that the New York Liberty’s top overall pick will be ready to go.

The Liberty released an update on their injured rookie attraction on Saturday, declaring that she will not need surgery to repair a sprained ankle sustained in the Liberty’s July 31 tilt against Atlanta. Ionescu has been rehabbing in New York while her teammates continue to work their way through the WNBA’s 2020 proceedings in the Bradenton bubble.

“(She) has been evaluated and physicians have determined that no surgery is needed,” a statement from the Liberty reads. “She has received a positive prognosis for a full recovery and is continuing to rehab.”

Ionescu took to her Instagram story to respond to the news.

Prior to her injury, Ionescu averaged 18.3 points (on 45 percent shooting) and 4.7 rebounds. The University of Oregon alumna earned a fair amount of hype leading to her selection in the WNBA Draft in April. She is by far the NCAA’s all-time leader in triple-doubles (26) and has also taken home countless hardwood accolades, including the Associated Press’ most recent Player of the Year honor. Ionescu came close to her first professional triple-double in her second game as New York, earning 33 points and seven assists and rebounds each on July 29 against Dallas.

Ionescu, 22, has since been rehabbing in both New York and California. Other recent Instagram highlights included dinner in Marina Del Rey with her close friend and fellow Walnut Creek, California native Bree Alford and a movie night with the wife and children of the late Kobe Bryant. Ionescu shared a strong relationship with Bryant and his teenage daughter Gianna prior to their deaths in a helicopter crash in January and continues to socialize with Bryant’s widow Vanessa and his surviving children Bianka, Natalia, and Capri.

Ionescu’s teammates have been in constant contact with her and head coach Walt Hopkins has discussed the team’s ongoing bubble endeavors over the phone and video calls.

“Different people have reached out,” fellow rookie Jocelyn Willoughby said. “We know she’s watching and supporting us. She told us to hang in there and keep fighting.”

“I’m super happy for Sabrina,” veteran forward/center Kiah Stokes added. “I talk to her often. Her morale is high…she’s excited to restart rehab and get back. She’s a workhorse, so she’s going to be ready for next season”

The remaining Liberty representatives return to action on Saturday night in Bradenton as they take on the Connecticut Sun (7 p.m. ET, YES/CBSSN).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty’s comeback effort falls just short against Indiana

A combined 41 points from Kia Nurse and Layshia Clarendon weren’t enough for the New York Liberty to overcome a double-digit deficit.

The New York Liberty continue to put up solid 25-30 minute efforts in a most unusual WNBA season, but the cruel reality is that professional games last 40.

Kia Nurse and Layshia Clarendon united for 41 points, but the Liberty were unable to erase a deficit that got as high as 16, falling to the Indiana Fever by an 86-79 final on Thursday night in the Bradenton bubble. Tiffany Mitchell led the way with 19 points for Indiana, while the unrelated Kelsey Mitchell had 18 more.

“(Indiana) is good. They got to the rim. Our bigs were afraid to leave their (assignments) because of the offensive rebound ability,” head coach Walt Hopkins said in a postgame Zoom call. “I thought the rhythm the Mitchells set really set the tone.”

The Liberty (1-8) fell behind early, trailing 27-17 after the first quarter. Their halftime deficit was 11, but the remainder of the game was played mostly in the close confines of single digits. New York was able to get as close as five in the third quarter and whittled it all the way down to two in the latter stages. A late defensive lapse, however, allowed the Fever (4-5) to escape with a win.

Kelsey Mitchell, mostly held in check after 13 points in the first half, provided the dagger with a three-pointer that made it 82-77 with 31 seconds to go. New York allowed only 35 points in the second half after trailing 51-40 at halftime.

Clarendon scored quickly on the other side, but Indiana sank their free throws to close it out.

The unfortunate part for the LIberty was that their strong showing came as Nurse, a 2019 All-Star, began to find a bit of a stride. She shot only 4-of-15 from the field but she found new ways to contribute, complimenting a season-best 21 points with six rebounds. Nurse also got to the foul line 12 times, converting all but one of her attempts.

“She’s still putting in the work,” Clarendon said of Nurse’s efforts. “She had a conversation with Coach Walt with what else she can be doing. She had six rebounds and played with a lot of energy and hustle. She’s finding ways to impact the game.”

“Outside of shots falling, Nurse played really, really well,” Hopkins added. “On a night when shots weren’t falling, she found a way. That was impressive.”

Rookie Jazmine Jones also reached double-figures (11 points) for the second straight game after tallying a career-best 24 on Tuesday against Los Angeles. Both Clarendon and fellow veteran Kiah Stokes each played nearly 37 minutes, with Stokes tallying nine points on a career-best three triples.

Two of the Liberty’s past three losses have come by single digits. They’ll get another chance against Indiana on September 10.

The Liberty return to action on Saturday for a rematch with the Minnesota Lynx (6 p.m. ET, CBSSN). Minnesota won the first of two matchups on August 5, using a strong third quarter to earn a 92-66 triumph.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty: Jazmine Jones earns another career high in late loss to LA (Highlights)

An infantile career-best for Jazmine Jones wasn’t enough to make up for a flat first quarter from the New York Liberty on Tuesday night.

Doomed by a brutal first quarter, the New York Liberty still managed to keep the theme of wrangling positives from a tough loss.

Sydney Wiese and Riquana Williams of the Los Angeles Sparks combined scored 17 points each on a combined 8-of-12 shooting from three-point range, keying a 93-78 victory over New York on late Tuesday night. Liberty rookie Jazmine Jones led all scorers with a young personal-best 24 in defeat.

“I think tonight was more of a team-focused loss,” head coach Walt Hopkins said. “I thought we had some really good individual defensive efforts. Points off of turnovers just absolutely killed us, 26 turnovers for 24 points. Otherwise, I thought that this team was remarkably resilient. It would’ve been easy to lie down and let that be a 30-point game. They just refused to let that happen. I’m proud of them for how tough they are.”

The Liberty (1-7) came out flat in the opening stages of a late tip-off, falling victim to the Sparks’ sharp-shooting from deep. Los Angeles (5-3) sank 6-of-7 three-point attempts in the first ten minutes, creating a 28-14 lead at the first stoppage. From that point on, New York was only able to come as close as nine points despite losing by only one point over the final three stages.

Jones was the most consistent silver lining for the Liberty, coming off the bench to score 24 points and swipe five balls. The Louisville alumna was the 12th and final pick of the WNBA Draft’s first-round back in April.

“Jaz was a much, much-needed spark (especially) in that first quarter,” Hopkins said. “We were having trouble scoring and she kind of willed us, willed us back into that first quarter and kind of gave us some momentum going forward.”

Yet, Jones was willing to sacrifice it all for a win and focused primarily on her five turnovers in her postgame statements. The Liberty turned the ball over 26 times in their latest downfall. Jones also made it clear that her young, historic effort meant little in the context of another loss, saying “I would’ve taken 5 points and us winning rather than 24 and us losing”.

“I had five turnovers myself. For me, personally, that’s unacceptable,” Jones said. “I’m really hard on myself about turning the ball over and I only had one assist too. Being a backup point guard, I can’t come in and turn the ball over. Those five turnovers are unacceptable.”

Five players reached double figures for the Sparks, who won back-to-back games for the first time this season. New York put up a strong performance at the foul line, converting all but one of their 23 attempts. The two squads will meet up against on September 8 in the latter stages of the Liberty’s Bradenton bubble season.

The Liberty return to action on Thursday evening, taking on the Indiana Fever for the first time this season (6 p.m. ET, YES).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags