It was less than a week ago that the New York Liberty beat the Las Vegas Aces to end the longest losing streak in franchise history.
Now, the Liberty can win three in a row for the first time since 2017 by snapping a nine-game road skid Friday night against a struggling Aces squad.
New York (2-4) was finally able to halt a losing stretch that reached 17 games with an 88-78 home victory over Las Vegas on Sunday. The Liberty held the Aces (2-3) to 35.4 percent shooting en route to their first win since July 15.
"New York played a very fine basketball game," Vegas coach and former Liberty boss Bill Laimbeer said after that contest. "They needed (that) win more than we wanted it. We didn't come out with the energy and intensity from the start."
While the Aces have not played since that defeat, New York built on that triumph with a 75-69 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday. Kia Nurse scored 11 of her game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter and rookie Asia Durr had 20 after missing the Aces' game due to illness.
"We're continuing to find ways to win, playing with a lot of passion," said Nurse, who has totaled 41 points in the last two games. "That will allow you to go far in this league. We just need to continue to close it out."
New York last won three straight games during the 2017 season with Laimbeer in charge. The Liberty, who have played just once away from home in 2019, last won a road contest at Connecticut on July 11.
This is the first of games on back-to-back nights out west for the Liberty, who visit Los Angeles on Saturday.
Laimbeer, meanwhile, seemed to challenge his current team's leadership following the New York loss. That should fall on the shoulders of Kayla McBride, who scored 25, or Liz Cambage, who had 17 with 10 rebounds in her first start for Las Vegas against New York. Or perhaps A'ja Wilson, whose consecutive streak of 37 games with double-digit points ended after finishing with five on Sunday.
McBride, at least, believes the best is still to come for Vegas as newcomer Cambage gets more accustomed to her surroundings and they all learn to play together.
"We're five games in, we're 2-3, but we have so much to look forward to," McBride told the Aces' official website. "I think that's the biggest thing for us. We have such an upside. It's when we click, people should watch out."
Las Vegas needs to again watch out for New York star Tina Charles, who scored 21 in Sunday's meeting. Charles, though, finished with a season-low 12 and went 0 of 5 from 3-point range against the Lynx.
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