August 9, 2018 / 1:25 AM / in 2 months

Williams, Carson come up big as Sparks edge Liberty, 82-81

Riquna Williams and Essence Carson made clutch 3-pointers in a span of 43 seconds late in the fourth quarter as the Los Angeles Sparks held on for an 82-81 victory over the host New York Liberty on Wednesday night at the Westchester County Center.

FILE PHOTO: October 1, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Sparks forward Essence Carson (17) plays for the ball against Minnesota Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson (32) during the first half in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Sparks made 12 of 28 3-pointers and took the lead for good at 75-73 when Williams hit her fourth 3-pointer of the game with 2:19 remaining. After Chelsea Gray stripped the ball from Amanda Zahui B with 1:55 remaining, Carson made a 3-pointer for a 78-73 lead.

A hook shot by Tina Charles with 79 seconds left made it 78-75, but she missed a fadeaway with 42.1 seconds left. The Liberty later had another chance to tie, but Zahui B threw a pass out of bounds with 16.1 seconds left.

Los Angeles still couldn’t close the game after two free throws by Gray put it up 80-75 with 13.4 seconds left. The Sparks iced the game on two free throws by Nneka Ogwumike with 7.8 seconds left; the points proved crucial when Sugar Rodgers hit a 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left for the final margin.

Gray led five players in double figures with 19 points as the Sparks (18-11) won their third straight game and for the fourth time in five games. Ogwumike added 18 while Candace Parker contributed 13 for Los Angeles, which shot 43.3 percent.

Charles led all scorers with 27 points on 11-of-21 shooting, but the Liberty (7-22) dropped their eighth straight game. Zahui B and Rebecca Allen added 13 points apiece as New York shot 46.4 percent.

A layup by Alana Beard gave the Sparks a 50-47 lead with 6:44 remaining in the third, but the Liberty countered with a 13-4 run to regain the lead. New York took a 64-57 lead on two free throws by Rodgers with 1:19 left and carried a 66-61 edge into the fourth before Los Angeles did enough to hold on in the final minutes.

The two teams entered the third quarter tied 41-41.

—Field Level Media

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