NEW YORK, N.Y. – JUNE 25, 2016 – The New York Liberty will hold its 20th Season Celebration presented by Coca-Cola when it hosts the Phoenix Mercury at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, June 26, at 3 p.m.
The Mercury are also the first team New York ever faced at The Garden, when these two squared off on June 29, 2016. That inaugural team will be reunited at The World’s Most Famous Arena pregame.
For the Liberty, it will be looking to build on the longest winning streak since 2010, six-straight wins, which has allowed New York to run its record to 10-4, best in the Eastern Conference.
• Behind yet another double-double from Tina Charles, this time 21 points and 13 rebounds, the Liberty held off the Chicago Sky 80-79 to pick up its sixth win in a row, now the longest active winning streak in the WNBA. The Liberty had three players score in double-figures as Rodgers finished with 13 points and Kiah Stokes scored 12 points.
• New York will host its 20th Season Celebration presented by Coca-Cola on Sunday against Phoenix, the same team the Liberty hosted for the very first WNBA game to be played at The Garden on June 29, 1997. All but one member of the inaugural 1997 team will be on hand for a reunion prior to tipoff. New York is one of three original WNBA franchises celebrating 20 seasons and the only one with the same ownership group.
• The Liberty’s six-game winning streak is its longest since 2010, and just its second-such win-streak since 2004. New York is 10-4 for the first time since 2001 and for the third time in franchise history (the 1997 team was 12-2 through 14 games that season).
• This will be the first meeting of the season between New York and Phoenix, and the first of two trips to Madison Square Garden for the Mercury. Last year, the Liberty swept the season series against Phoenix for the first time since 2012.
PLAYER TO WATCH
For the second time in three games Kiah Stokes is going to be tested in the paint, matching up against another of the top shot blockers in the league in Brittney Griner. Griner ranks just ahead of Stokes in blocks per game, but the Liberty’s second-year center has been emerging as a balanced offensive player as well, scoring in double figures in three of the last four games.
Stokes also now ranks third in the WNBA in field goal percentage at .657, and is sixth in rebounding with 8.1 boards per game. She is coming off a 10 point, seven rebound performance against Chicago on Friday.
Once again the Liberty is hanging its hat on defensive effort, making life very difficult for opposing offenses. New York has limited 8-of-14 opponents, most recently Atlanta on June 19, to under 36.0 percent shooting from the field, and the Liberty leads the league in defensive field goal percentage of .390 (the league average is .440). Phoenix conversely is ninth in the league, allowing opponents to shoot .454 and last in points allowed, 88.4 per game.
Last season, New York dominated the interior, outscoring its opponents in the paint in 28-of-34 games played, posting a 20-8 mark in those contests. The Liberty is right back at it this season:
• New York has outscored 11-of-14 opponents inside of the paint.
• The Liberty ranks first in the WNBA in paint scoring, averaging 38.6 ppg.
• New York is first in defensive points allowed in the paint, giving up just 27.4 ppg
• The Liberty is 1-2 in those games where it failed to hold the advantage offensively on the interior.
• So far New York has a 540-384 advantage in the paint, an average of 11.2 more points per game in the interior.