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The “French Mamba” Marine Johannes’s Perfect Game Helps Spark The Liberty Past The Sparks

The “French Mamba” Marine Johannes’s Perfect Game Helps Spark The Liberty Past The Sparks

The season is stiil up for grabs and the Liberty still have a lot to play for.

Chelsea Gray’s three-point shot from the top of the key to tie the score with 9.4 seconds left fell short and Tina Charles converted two free throws at the other end to seal the New York Liberty’s 83-78 victory on Saturday afternoon.

Rookie Marine Johannes scored 17 points, making all six of her shots, to lead the Liberty, who ended a three-game losing streak. Kia Nurse added 14 points for New York (8-10).

The French guard helped New York build a seven-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Sparks rallied behind Gray and Chiney Ogwumike to get to within 79-78 with 17.4 seconds left. Charles made two free throws to give the Liberty a three-point lead.

The French Mamba

Johannes, a WNBA rookie at 24, only recently joined the team after recovering from injury and playing for France in the FIBA Europe Women’s Cup. It was her home debut.

Johannes was one of several players who Liberty coach Katie Smith turned to after three players got into foul trouble early. Overall, New York’s bench scored 43 points.

The 5’10” guard did not miss. She was 6-of-6 overall, including 4-of-4 from three. She also made her one free throw.

’’She’s a scorer. We need production,’’ Smith said. ‘’We need that to happen. We need those in the ballgame to impact the game and give a max effort. ‘’

“She’s a scorer, she’s got a swagger to her game that’s a little bit different,” All-Star Nurse said. “She brings a European swagger to a North American game that’s a lot of fun to watch. She is confident and I love the way that she plays.”

Liberty Stood Tall Against The Sparks’ Talented Duo

Nnekai Ogwumike had 20 points on eight-of-16 shooting and 12 rebounds to lead Los Angeles, which had a three-game winning streak snapped. She made three of five three-pointers. Chiney Ogwumike finshed with 16 points and seven rebounds.

’We kept putting them at the line and they got some buckets. We got good looks down the stretch in the fourth. Maybe in another game we’ll convert them,’’ said Chelsea Gray, who had 19 points and five steals for Los Angeles. Gray made seven of 14 shots from the field, including three of seven from long range. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt contributed 10 points and three rebounds.

VIPs In The House

NBA commissioner Adam Silver took in the game with his family as well as former Liberty player Swin Cash, who is now the New Orleans Pelicans vice president of basketball operations and Team Development.

One More Game Before The All-Star Game

The Liberty travel to Mohegan Sun Arena Wednesday to play Connecticut at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday in their last game before the All-Star Game on July 27. Kia Nurse, the Liberty’s Canadian point guard, will start the game while the Liberty’s power forward, veteran Tina Charles will be a reserve.

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