ATLANTA, GA. – JUNE 22, 2016 – New York Liberty forward Tina Charles finished one rebound shy of a triple double as the Liberty won its fifth game in a row and took over sole possession of first place in the WNBA Eastern Conference with a 90-79 double overtime win over the Atlanta Dream on Wednesday afternoon at Philips Arena.
Charles finished with 23 points, a career-high 10 assists, and 9 rebounds, to flirt with what was nearly the first triple double in franchise history. She was one of six Liberty players in double figures, as New York improved to 9-4 overall, the third-best record in the league.
The Liberty was up five with fewer than two minutes remaining in regulation, only to see Atlanta tie the game on a Meighan Simmons 3-pointer with 1:10 on the clock; it was the first three of the game for Atlanta which at that point had missed its first 13 attempts from deep.
New York was eventually able to hold for the last possession, but Charles’ long field goal attempt drew back iron, leading to OT for the second game in a row.
After a low scoring first overtime period, New York opened the second extra session full throttle, scoring the first nine points to put the game out of reach.
After Charles knocked down an 18-footer at the top of the key, she found Tanisha Wright for a jumper, registering her 10th assist in the process.
Following another stop, Charles struck again, nailing her second three of the game to make it a three-possession Liberty lead. Two and a half minutes later Sugar Rodgers converted a triple from the wing, putting an exclamation point on the victory.
It was just the fourth double overtime game in Liberty franchise history, and the first for New York since 2008.
Wright scored 12 points, racking up a season-high eight assists. Kiah Stokes finished with 11 points, and was one rebound shy of a triple double, hauling in nine boards. Swin Cash netted a season-high 13 points, Rodgers chipped in with 10 and Shavonte Zellous had 14 points.
The low scoring first half featured four ties and seven lead changes, while neither team was able to connect from deep.
The Liberty held Atlanta to 12 points and just 23.5 percent shooting in the first quarter, taking a 17-12 lead through 10 minutes of action, only to see Atlanta storm right back.
Led by Tiffany Hayes, the Dream opened the second quarter on a 6-0 run, briefly taking an 18-17 lead before Cash got going, scoring five straight including a 3-point play.
Atlanta seized back the momentum, taking advantage of Liberty turnovers to take a one point lead into the locker room, and carried that advantage into the start of the third, going up by three for the first time.
Sugar Rodgers had the answer for New York, draining a triple from the wing to knot the score once again, and at that point Charles started to effect the game in nearly every way, scoring eight points with three assists in the third period, capped off by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave the Liberty a 55-51 lead.
The advantage hit nine for the first time as Boyd sprinted down the court in transition and found a way to get a shot high off the glass to drop through as she drew contact. The ensuing free throw made it 62-53, the largest lead of the game for either team.
The Liberty returns to action on Friday night when it hosts Pride Night presented by Resorts World Casino NYC against the Chicago Sky at Madison Square Garden. Tipof is scheduled for 7:30 PM.
• Tina Charles had a career-high 10 assists, finishing one rebound shy of what would have been the first triple double in New York Liberty history.
• New York has now played back-to-back overtime games twice this season, and is 2-2 in overtime overall, losing the first two and winning the second two
• Both meetings between New York and Atlanta have gone to overtime this year
A• season-high six players scored in double figures for New York
• It was just the fourth regular season double overtime game in New York Liberty history and the first since 2008
• The Liberty limited Atlanta to just 33.3 percent shooting and 1-of-18 from 3-point range; New York has held 8-of-13 opponents below 36 percent shooting this year
• It was the first time this year the Liberty won a game when being outscored in the paint, the Liberty is now 1-2 when failing to control the paint