NEW YORK, N.Y. – SEPT. 12, 2016 – The New York Liberty’s final push for 2016 WNBA Playoffs preparation begins with its final home game of the regular season against the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. It will be Liberty Fan Appreciation Night presented by JP Morgan Chase Women on the Move.
As the Liberty continues to get ready to host a Second Round winner take all game at The Garden, the other major story line is Tina Charles’ incredible season as she continues to demonstrate why she is deserving of being named the league’s Most Valuable Player for a second time.
Charles turned in yet another monster performance in an 84-81 setback at Dallas on Sunday, posting her 19th double-double of the season with 29 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with a season-high five blocked shots.
Charles took over the league lead in scoring, and now is at the top of the WNBA rankings in scoring (21.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.9 rpg) as she attempts to become just the third individual in league history to finish first in both categories in the same season.
New York has already defeated Washington twice this season, but it will be the Mystics’ first trip to Madison Square Garden since game three of the WNBA Eastern Conference semifinals last September. Washington is currently on the outside looking in as it fights to qualify for the playoffs, likely needing to win its final three games to qualify for the postseason.
• The Liberty nearly erased a 22-point deficit but ultimately saw a big comeback attempt at Dallas fall short on Sunday afternoon. The Liberty pulled within one on a Sugar Rodgers 3-pointer with 5.6 to play, but was unable to tie the game after two free throws from Skylar Diggins. Tina Charles continued to dominate, scoring 29 points with 10 rebounds and a season-high 5 blocked shots.
• Brittany Boyd set a new career-high for assists for the second time in as many games with 10 dimes against Dallas on Sunday. Over the past eight games she is averaging 6.4 apg and now ranks 17th in the WNBA with 3.5 apg for the season.
• Center Carolyn Swords scored a season-high 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting Sunday at Dallas. Over the past four games she is averaging 9.8 ppg and over that same stretch is shooting .600 from the field (15-of-25).
• Dating back to the last two games before the Olympic Break, the Liberty has been alternating wins and losses for seven-straight games. New York needs to win its final two games to match last year’s franchise record of 23 wins.
• The last time New York played Washington the Liberty set a WNBA single-game record with 69 bench points.
PLAYER TO WATCH
While all eyes continue to be on Tina Charles and her historic numbers (four-straight games of 20+ points, a league-leading 19 double-doubles), Brittany Boyd and Sugar Rodgers are starring as well.
Rodgers has already set a Liberty single-season record with 86 3-pointers, which leads the WNBA. If she averages 3 3-pointers over the last two games, she will have made the 3rd-most threes in a single-season in league history. Boyd has just been electrifying as the lead guard, averaging 9.0 apg over the last two games with new career-highs in consecutive games as well. Can she keep up that impressive pace and continue to ascend the WNBA league rankings.
Getting off to a strong start has proven to be critically important to the Liberty’s success this season. New York is 17-1 when it leads after 10 minutes of action, and 16-1 when in front heading into the half. If the Liberty finds itself behind after the first quarter, the team has come back to win just four times, with a 4-10 record in those games.
Because of its rebounding advantage on both ends of the floor the Liberty has also benefited from more second chance scoring opportunities on average than its opponents. But over the past three games, New York has been outscored in 2nd chance opportunities each time, including twice by a season-high margin of 10 points. The Liberty is 13-3 when scoring more second chance points and just 5-8 when it does not.