NEW YORK — Ivory Latta scored 15 points and Emma Meesseman added 13 to help the Washington Mystics beat the top-seeded New York Liberty 86-83 in double-overtime Friday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Tayler Hill added 13 points for the Mystics, who will host Game 2 on Sunday.
Meesseman tied the game at 80 with 2:28 left in the second overtime. Kara Lawson, who was playing for the first time since sitting out the final eight games of the regular season with a back injury, gave Washington the lead with a lay-in with 1:44 left.
Hill added a free throw 42 seconds later to make it a 3-point game. New York didn’t have a basket in the second overtime after Tanisha Wright’s 3-pointer opened the scoring until Epiphanny Prince hit a 3 with 1.1 seconds left that made it 85-83.
Latta made 1 of 2 free throws with 0.1 seconds left to cap the scoring.
Stefanie Dolson also had 13 points for the Mystics before leaving with 3:20 left in the fourth quarter after hurting her leg.
Prince led New York with 26 points and Tina Charles added 22 for the Liberty, who had chances to opportunities to win before the second OT. It was a back-and-forth contest with neither team taking more than a four-point lead in the second half or overtime.
New York scored six of the first nine points in the first overtime going up 75-72 on Prince’s jumper with 1:22 left. After another Mystics’ miss, Swin Cash hit 1 of 2 free throws with 46 seconds remaining to put the Liberty up four.
Hill made two free throws to bring Washington within two.
After Charles missed a hook, Ivory Latta brought the ball up the court and New York forced a jump ball with 9 seconds left. Washington earned possession on a violation by New York and Emma Meesseman tied it on a layup with 1.6 seconds remaining. Prince’s last-second shot from the corner was well short, sending the game to another overtime.
Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer was presented with his coach of the year award before the game. He brought his entire staff out to center court for the pregame ceremony. Laimbeer said before the game that the award should be changed to be the coaching staff of the year instead of singling out just the head coach.
This was the first playoff game for New York at Madison Square Garden since 2010. The Liberty played in New Jersey when they made the playoffs in 2011 and 2012 as MSG was undergoing renovations.