The 2016 season was another memorable year for the Liberty, as New York continued to assert itself as a perennial WNBA power. One again it was a record-breaking year full of milestones and individual achievements and accolades for the franchise and its players. Take a look at the New York Liberty season By The Numbers to dive deeper into some of the most significant stats.
With an 80-79 win over the Chicago Cky on June 24, the Liberty picked up its 6th-consecutive victory to improve to 10-4 overall. The 6-game winning streak was the longest for New York since the 2010 season (when it rattled off 10-straight victories) and the 10-4 record was the Liberty’s best through 14 games since 2001, and just the 2nd time in franchise history it won 10-of-14 to start the season.
The Liberty played in a franchise-record 6 overtime games in 2016, including a stretch where 4-of-5 games needed extra time to be decided, nearly matching a WNBA record in the process. While the 6 OT games were the most in New York history, the league record is 7.
From June 11 at San Antonio until July 3 at Los Angeles, Tina Charles scored at least 21 points in every game, a streak of 9-consecutive games with at least 20 points. That was good for the fourth-longest streak by an individual player in league history, with the record being 13-straight games with at least 20 points (Diana Taurasi – 2005-06). During that stretch, Charles also posted a pair of 30-point games and averaged 26.1 ppg.
For the 4th time in her career, but the first since her MVP season in 2012, Tina Charles led the WNBA in rebounding, averaging 9.9 rebounds per game. She finished the season with 19 games of at least 10 rebounds and three games with 15 rebounds or more, including a season-best 16 boards against Los Angeles on May 24.
Tina Charles led the league with 20 double-doubles this season, falling just three shy of her own WNBA single-season record of 23 that she set in 2011. For Charles, 19 of those were point-rebound double-doubles, and she added another where she grabbed a career-high 10 assists at Atlanta on Jun 22. In that game, she also had 9 boards, coming very close to what would have been the sixth triple-double in WNBA history.
The Liberty finished the season with a 21-13 overall record, surpassing 20 victories for a 2nd-straight season. It is just the second time in franchise history that New York has reached 20 wins in consecutive seasons and the first time since back in 2000 and 2001.
It was a career-high scoring average for Tina Charles, as the Liberty’s MVP candidate also led the league in scoring for the first time in her career. Prior to this season, twice Charles had posted a career-best scoring average of 18.0 ppg, but this year she reached new height adding an incredible 3.5 ppg onto her previous career-best, and increasing her scoring average by 4.4 ppg year over year. Charles had a pair of 30-point games, tying her career-high of 32 at Connecticut on June 16, and scored at least 20 points 19 times.
Carolyn Swords was the only Liberty player to start all 34 games this season, providing stability and reliability in the New York front court. It was the first time in her career that Swords made 34 starts and the 2nd-straight season in which she played in every single game. The result was new career bests in scoring (5.2 ppg) and rebounding (4.6 rpg) for the 6-6 center. Swords finished the season ranked 28th in the WNBA in rebounding.
Brittany Boyd finished the season with 52 steals, the most for a Liberty player since Leilani Mitchell compiled 55 during the 2010 season. Boyd had 3 steals in 8-of-13 games coming down the stretch and finished the season averaging 1.6 steals per game, which was good enough to rank 4th in the WNBA.
In one of the most memorable games of the year, the Liberty reserves combined to score 69 points in an 88-81 win at Washington on July 20. Led by Rebecca Allen, who scored a career-high 19 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range, Brittany Boyd (17 points), Amanda Zahui B (15 points), and Shavonte Zellous (14 points), also scored in double figures for the New York bench mob.
Sugar Rodgers emerged as one of the most lethal long-range shooting threats in the WNBA, draining 86 shots from downtown in 2016. That was easily a new single-season record for the Liberty, besting the old mark of 78 set by Shameka Christon in 2009, and was good enough to rank 2nd overall in the WNBA, one of the top 3-point seasons of all-time. Rodgers did this while shooting efficiently as well, ranking 5th in the league with a .413 shooting percentage from 3-point range. Her best effort came when she knocked down a New York single-game record 7 treys in an overtime win at Minnesota on June 29, one shy of the league single-game record.
Bill Laimbeer picked up career victory No. 200 when the Liberty beat the Chicago Sky on July 8, becoming just the 7th coach in WNBA history to reach the milestone. After this season, Laimbeer boasts a career record of 207-158, 70-66 with the Liberty, although over the past two seasons in New York, Laimbeer and the Liberty have gone 44-24 (.647).
Legend Swin Cash played her final regular season game at Chicago on Sept. 16, which was the 479th game of her career, a number that rank 4th in league history, trailing just DeLisha Milton-Jones, Tina Thompson, and Katie Smith. Cash ended her career ranked 14th in scoring (5,119 points), 7th in rebounding (2,521 rebounds), 15th in assists (1,133), and 23rd in blocked shots (258 blocks).