UNCASVILLE, CONN. – AUGUST 29, 2015 – One night after securing the franchise’s first playoff berth since the 2012 season, the New York Liberty will be right back at it on Saturday, as it heads up to Uncasville, Conn., to face the Connecticut Sun at 7 p.m., on MSG Network.
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ALL-TIME: Connecticut leads, 34-31
2015 SEASON: New York, 2-0
LAST MEETING: NYL 90, CONN 78 (August 14, 2015)
There will be no time to celebrate for New York, which will play its fifth and final back-to-back of the season. The Liberty is coming off an emotional 81-68 win over the Western Conference leading Minnesota Lynx on Friday night at Madison Square Garden, a victory that ensured the postseason and allowed New York to create a little more distance from the rest of the field in a very competitive Eastern Conference.
With a playoff appearance now guaranteed, the focus shifts to wrapping up home court advantage. New York leads Chicago and Indiana by 2.5 games with seven to play, and up next is a Connecticut squad fighting to stay in the playoff hunt.
The Liberty has won both meetings against the Sun this year, but each contest was competitive into the fourth quarter. It took a tremendous fourth quarter defensive effort, allowing just seven points, to grab a 64-57 win in game one back in July. Just two weeks ago, Tina Charles (31) and Epiphanny Prince (23) combined to scored 54 points in a 90-78 New York win.
Charles especially has been phenomenal against the Sun this year, averaging a double-double of 26.5 points and 10.0 rebounds.
Connecticut shot an impressive 50.9 percent against the WNBA’s leading defensive team in the last game at Mohegan Sun, but committed 18 turnovers which New York capitalized on to the tune of 26 points, making a significant difference in the outcome.
Tanisha Wright did an outstanding job pacing New York, dishing out nine assists in that win, and she has not seen her production dip as of late; coming into Saturday night’s contest she has recorded six assists in three-straight games and currently ranks eighth in the league with 3.7 per contest.
Alex Bentley scored 19 points to lead the Sun in that last meeting, and she is averaging 17.0 ppg against the Liberty this season, but has missed the last several games due to injury. She, along with Kelsey Bone (17 points) were the only two Connecticut players to score in double figures in both games against New York this year.
PLAYOFFS! LIBERTY CLINCH 2015 WNBA PLAYOFF BERTH
- With its 81-68 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on August 28, the Liberty secured a berth into the 2015 WNBA Playoffs.
- New York qualifies for the postseason for the first time since 2012, ending a two-season drought.
- It is the 13th all-time postseason berth in franchise history.
- When New York hosts a playoff game later this month, it will be the first WNBA postseason game to be played at Madison Square Garden since 2010.
- The Liberty has been to the WNBA finals four times (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002)
- New York’s all-time playoff record is 24-31 (.436) and it has not won a playoff series since 2010.
WE’RE GOING BACK-TO-BACK
Saturday night’s game will be the fifth back-to-back for the Liberty this season. New York is 2-2 so far in its second game in as many days, most recently falling at home to the Tulsa Shock 81-76, August 15. This is the final back-to-back of the season for the Liberty.
LAST TIME OUT – NEW YORK 81, MINNESOTA 68
- New York secured a berth into the WNBA Playoffs 2015. It is the first playoff berth for the Liberty since the 2012 season.
- The Liberty improved to 19-8 overall, the best record through 27 games in franchise history and the most wins for the team since the 2011 season when it finished 19-15.
- Tina Charles finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for her first double-double since August 7, but her 10th of the season and 107th of her career, which is second all-time
- Epiphanny Prince finished with 22 points to scored 20-plus points for the fourth time this season.
- The Liberty improved to 10-3 at Madison Square Garden this season.
- Tanisha Wright finished with six assists for a third-straight game.
- Maya Moore scored a game-high 25 points but New York limited Minnesota to just 37.3 percent from the floor.
TANISHA WRIGHT DISHING THE ROCK
Tanisha Wright recorded a New York Liberty individual season-high nine assists in its 90-78 win at Connecticut on August 14, and has dished out six assists in three-straight games heading into Saturday night. She leads New York and ranks 8th in the WNBA this season, averaging 3.7 assists per game and is one of the best all-time at distributing the basketball, ranking 14th in league history with 1,107-career assists.
THE BEST START SINCE…
- At 19-8, New York is off to the best start in franchise history. No Liberty team posted 19 wins through the first 27 games of the season.
- New Yorked picked up its 19th win of the season, 81-68, against Minnesota on August 28, matching the most wins for the team since 2011 when it finished 19-15.
- With its 90-78 win over Connecticut on August 14, the Liberty surpassed last season’s win total, needing just 22 games to do so.
- The Liberty has won four-games in a row on two occasions. The last New York squad to boast two separate winning streaks of at least four games was the 2007 team.
- For Bill Laimbeer, the 19 wins signify the most for him since his 2008 Detroit Shock squad went 22-12 and won the WNBA title.
NEW YORK VS. CONNECTICUT 2015 SEASON SERIES
- New York is 2-0 against Connecticut this season, winning 90-78 at Mohegan Sun Arena two weeks ago on August 14.
- Tina Charles has been fantastic, averaging 26.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game against the Sun. Charles had 31 points in the Liberty win on August 14, which was one point shy of her career high and she matched a personal best with 14-made field goals.
- Kiah Stokes swatted a New York single-game franchise record eight shots in a 64-57 Liberty win on July 16. She added three more blocks in the second game of the year and is averaging 5.5 blocks per game against the Sun.
- Tanisha Wright notched a New York season-high nine assists in the last meeting with Connecticut and is averaging 7.0 assists per game against the Sun this year.
- Connecticut is shooting 39.4 percent against New York, better than the Liberty’s 38.3 opponent average for the year, and the Sun shot 50.9 percent overall in the last meeting, but turned the ball over 17 times leading to 26 points for the Liberty.
- Epiphanny Prince is also averaging double figures for New York at 16.5 ppg. She had 23 in the last meeting, making it the only time this season both she and Charles scored 20-plus points in the same game.