NEW YORK LIBERTY (3-3) vs. PHOENIX MERCURY (4-2)
Sunday, June 4 • New York, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden) • 3:00 PM (ET)
In a Sunday matinee at The Garden the New York Liberty will host Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi, and the Phoenix Mercury at 3 PM. It will be the 2nd meeting in 12 days for the two teams, after the Liberty picked up a 69-67 win at Phoenix on May 23. It is the only trip of the season to The Garden for the Mercury, who were last in New York for the 2016 WNBA 2nd Round Playoff matchup, which they won 101-94 back on Sept. 24.
• Tina Charles scored a career-high 36 points to lead the New York Liberty to a 93-89 win over the Dallas Wings on Friday night at The Garden. New York used a 14-2 run to end the 3rd quarter to turn a 7-point deficit into a 5-point lead it never relinquished, leading by as many as 9 down the stretch. Charles topped her previous career-best of 32 points, and recorded her 10th-career 30-point game, and 7th as a member of the Liberty.
• It was also a marquee night for guard Shavonte Zellous, who recorded her 1st 20-point game as a member of the Liberty, finishing with 27, her highest point total since setting a career high of 33 on June 25, 2014, as a member of the Indiana Fever.
• Kiah Stokes was dominant in the paint against the Wings, hauling in a career-high 15 rebounds, with 7 offensive boards. She also tied her career-high of 13 points, shooting 6-of-8 from the field with 2 blocked shots.
• Rookie point guard Lindsay Allen made her WNBA debut and logged 18 minutes, with 2 assists and a steal, while leading the Liberty with a +12 when she was on the court.
• New York signed point guard Chelsea Hopkins on Saturday. She was with the Liberty during training camp in 2015.
Who else but the league’s two leading scorers in Tina Charles and Brittney Griner, both of whom are averaging 21.5 ppg. Charles finished with a slight edge in the 1st meeting of the year, recording a 22 point, 11 rebound double-double in the Liberty win at Phoenix, while Griner posted a team-high 19 points with 6 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Diana Taurasi returns for this game, which should open things up a bit more for Griner, while that 1st meeting began a streak of 4-straight 20-point games for Charles.
New York will be facing the Mercury for the 2nd time in 12 days, having picked up a 69-67 win at Phoenix on June 4. The Liberty led by as many as 15 in that game, which the Mercury played without Diana Taurasi who was serving a 1-game suspension, but clinched the win on an Epiphanny Prince game-winning jumper with 4.5 to play. Prince led all scorer’s with 24 points, and Tina Charles recorded a 22-point, 11-rebound double-double. Brittney Griner led Phoenix with 19 points. Dating back to last season, the Liberty has won three straight regular season games against the Mercury, its longest streak in the series’ history.
GREAT GAME FOR ONE OF THE GREATEST
Tina Charles submitted the best offensive performance of her illustrious career in scoring a career-high 36 points to lead the Liberty to a 93-89 win over the Dallas Wings on June 2 at The Garden. Charles eclipsed her previous career-best of 32 points, accomplished twice, most recently at Connecticut in 2016, going 13-of-23 from the field, with 10 rebounds, and a pair of 3-pointers. It was her 10th-career 30-point game, and 7th as a member of the Liberty. It also pushed her streak of consecutive 20-point games to four in a row. 22 of Charles’ points came in the 2nd half, including 11 in the 4th quarter. It pushed her season scoring average up to 21.5 ppg, which is tied with Phoenix’ Brittney Griner for the best mark in the WNBA.
SHAVONTE ZELLOUS TAKES OVER
Shavonte Zellous had a huge game against the Dallas Wings on June 2, pouring in 27 points to help the Liberty pick up a 93-89 victory. It was Zellous’ 1st 20-point game since joining the Liberty prior to the 2016 season, and her highest single-game point total since she dropped a career-best 33 for the Indiana Fever on June 25, 2014. She was 9-of-15 from the field and 8-of-11 from the foul line, also hauling in a career-high 8 rebounds.
Rookie point guard Lindsay Allen made her WNBA debut for the Liberty on June 2, just two days after she was re-signed by the team. She came into the game with 5:08 remaining in the 1st quarter, and went on to dish out 2 assists with a steal in 17:36 of action. Allen was a team-best +12 when she was on the floor in the win.
LIBERTY SIGNS POINT GUARD CHELSEA HOPKINS
With Epiphanny Prince and Kia Vaughn absent to fulfill national team duties in the 2017 EuroBasket Women Tournament, the Liberty has signed point guard Chelsea Hopkins. Hopkins is a 2nd-year guard, who signed a training camp contract with the Liberty in 2015, and was in the Los Angeles Sparks training camp this season. She appeared in four games with the San Antonio Stars as a rookie in 2013, averaging 1.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, and 2.5 apg.
After getting off to a slow start to the 2017 season, center Kiah Stokes responded with one of the best performances of her young career in the Liberty’s 93-89 win over the Dallas Wings on June 2. Stokes tied her career-high of 13 points, shooting 6-of-8 from the field, and hauled in a career-best 15 rebounds, 7 coming off the offensive glass. She now ranks 17th in the league in rebounding at 6.5 rpg, and is 10th with 1.2 bpg.
TOP OF THE LEADERBOARD
The Liberty has ascended back to its familiar perch at the top of the WNBA rebounding rankings, after hauling in 44 rebounds against Dallas on June 2. New York leads the league with 37.0 rebounds per game, and is also 1st in defensive rebound percentage (.782). The Liberty was also 1st in the league in rebounding in 2015 and 2016.