SEATTLE, WASH. – JULY 21, 2015 – Tina Charles poured in a season-high 30 points as the Liberty ran away from the Storm in the fourth quarter to secure its fourth straight victory, the longest winning streak for the team since 2011.
Tanisha Wright, who played the first 10 years of her career with the Seattle, was making her first trip back in Liberty uniform, and was key in helping secure a win down the stretch. With 36.5 seconds to go, Wright hit a dagger jump shot to create a three-point cushion, making it 78-75. Kiah Stokes would ice clutch free throws at the 25-second mark to put the game out of reach for good.
The Liberty would not have gotten to the point without a monstrous 30 point effort on 14-of-24 shooting from reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Tina Charles. She had 12 of those points in the fourth quarter, including back-to-back buckets to help the Liberty regain the lead, 65-64, with 7:16 to play, an advantage New York would never give back. She had a second spurt of consecutive field goals after she trotted coast to coast on a steal for a lay in followed by her signature hook shot to cap off her 30 point performance.
Ramu Tokashiki hit a sweet jumper with a defender in her face at the 1:57 mark to bring the game within one, 77-76 before the the Liberty closed the game out. Tokashiki and Sue Bird led the scoring effort for Seattle, both finishing with 14 points. Crystal Langhorne added 13, including a strong rebound and put back off a Bird miss to bring the Storm within three points with 3:23 to go in the game.
Swin Cash also spent four years in a Storm uniform, and had a milestone night back in Seattle. With 2:21 to go, Cash got a layup to go and made a free throw for her sixth point of the night and 4,879th point in her career, passing Sheryl Swoopes for 14th all time. She also clocked 21 minutes, passing Becky Hammon for 10th all time in minutes played with 12,553.
Tanisha Wright scored six points in the third quarter including a bucket that spiraled all the way around the hoop before going through the net to give the Liberty their edge back, 55-54 with three minutes to play. Angel Goodrich would give the Storm back a 58-57 advantage on a scoop shot to end the third, and it was a one-point game going into the final period of play.
The two quarters in the first half were in stark contrast of one another. The Liberty jumped out to a 26-13 lead through ten minutes of play and appeared to be in complete control leading 32-19 in the second, but Seattle completely turned the tide with a 26-8 run to close the half, taking a 45-40 lead into the break.
The Liberty hit six of its first nine attempts from the field and scored 11 unanswered early in the first to jump out to a 13-4 lead. Charles had six-straight points, collecting 12 in the first quarter alone, and then Epiphany Prince drained back-to-back jumpers, the second of which was beyond the arc, capping the big run.
The Storm would bring the game within 5 points in the first quarter- 15-10 on a Langhorne jump shot with 4 minutes left in the first quarter, but New York stopped it right there. The Liberty finished the last 4:07 of the quarter on a 11-3 run to end the quarter – not allowing a field goal to the Storm. Tina Charles had five of those points including a jumper on the dish from Essence Carson at the two minute mark. Seattle shot 4-of-15 from the field in the first, as New York forced them into 26.7 percent from the field.
It was an impressive demonstration of New York’s depth when Sugar Rodgers and Brittany Boyd went to check in for the first time and the lead was already 19-10. During their first possession on the floor, Rodgers drained a triple from the left wing as the Liberty advantage ballooned to 12 points.
The Storm responded with a 14-2 run to pull within one on a Sue Bird jumper, which Swin Cash answered with a bank shot at the other end as she muscled her way into the paint, but eventually Seattle would regain the lead, pulling in front 39-38 on an Alysha Clark layup at the 1:47 mark as their run continued at 17-4.
The Storm put an exclamation point on the explosive half with a Clark 3-pointer from the corner seconds before the end of the half, finishing a 32-point period, matching the most for a single quarter for any New York Liberty opponent this season.
NEW YORK LIBERTY POSTGAME NOTES
- New York has won four games in a row for the first time since July 1-13, 2011. New York is off to its best start (11-5) since 2001. That year the Liberty opened the season with a 16-5 record.
- Tina Charles finished with 30 points, the most for a Liberty player this season and her third 30-point game as a member of the Liberty.
- Swin Cash scored six points to move past Sheryl Swoopes for 14th place all-time She has 4,879 points in her 14-year WNBA career.
- Cash also played 21 minutes, passing Becky Hammon for 10th place in WNBA history. She has 12,553 minutes in her career.
- With five assists, Tanisha Wright actually passed Swin Cash for 15th all time in assists with 1,065.
- New York improved to 3-0 in one possession games.
- The Liberty trailed by one heading into the fourth and has now come back from a deficit heading into the final quarter in back-to-back games. Prior to that the Liberty were 0-5 when trailing heading into the fourth quarter.
- The Liberty allowed Seattle to shoot a season-high for field goal percentage against New York- with 48-percent on 30-62 shooting from the field.
- With ten point, Epiphanny Prince has now scored in double figures in her first six games with the Liberty
- New York was dominant in the paint once again, the Liberty scored a season-high 52 points in the paint.