NEW YORK, N.Y. – JUNE 24, 2016 – The New York Liberty held off the Chicago Sky 80-79 on Friday night at Madison Square Garden, to win its sixth game in a row and improve to 10-4 overall for the first time since 2001. The six-game winning streak is the Liberty’s longest since 2010.
Once again it was Tina Charles leading the way for the Liberty, as the league’s top scorer and rebounder notched her 10th double-double of the season with 21 points and 13 rebounds to go along with four assists.
Prior to the game, Charles was officially presented with the May WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month a WNBA Cares Community Assist awards, as she became the first player in league history to capture both awards in the same month.
It was Pride Night presented by Resorts World Casino NYC at The Garden, and during the first media time, the Liberty and Resorts World Casino presented a check for $10,000 (a donation of $5,000 from each organization) to the OneOrlando Fund, set up to aid the Orlando community after the horrific tragedy at Pulse nightclub less than two weeks ago. The Liberty and Sky both wore #OrlandoUnited warmup shirts.
Despite leading by 11 points in the fourth quarter, New York saw Chicago storm back behind an inspired shooting performance from Elena Delle Donne, to make it a one point game with fewer than three minutes to play.
The Liberty was able to execute down the stretch getting a series of stops before Kiah Stokes found Sugar Rodgers for a back-door alley-oop that Rodgers finished off the glass to make it 80-77 with 39.5 remaining.
Delle Donne sunk an eight footer on the next offensive set then the Sky forced a contested Tina Charles jumper on New York’s last possession, leaving them with 2.2 seconds on the clock. Out of the timeout, Delle Donne was forced beyond the 3-point line then misfired on an off balance final shot.
After trailing by six early in the first quarter, New York closed the opening period on a 12-0 run, led mostly by its second unit with Amanda Zahui B scoring six points, including a 3-pointer.
Each time Chicago made a run, the Liberty had an answer. The Sky cut it to three late in the third, only to have Charles put New York back up by five heading into the final period. A six point game with seven minutes remaining, Rodgers drained a three then Rebecca Allen scored on the break off a Chicago turnover to put the Liberty back in front by double digits.
New York returns to action on Sunday afternoon, when it hosts the Phoenix Mercury at Madison Square Garden for its 20th Season Celebration presented by Coca-Cola, featuring a reunion of the inaugural 1997 Liberty team. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
• New York improves to 10-4 for the first time since 2001 and has won six games in a row for the first time since 2010.
• Tina Charles notched her 10th double-double of the season with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
• Rebecca Allen made her 2016 season debut after joining the team in Atlanta on Wednesday. She played in just two games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury and missed the first 12 games of 2016 to train with the Australian Opals.
• Elena Delle Donne led all scorers with 31 points, shooting 10-of-17 from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range.
• New York outscored Chicago 42-22 in the paint.
• The Liberty held a 28-14 advantage in bench scoring