WASHINGTON, D.C. – JULY 9, 2015 – Forward Tina Charles scored 21 points with 10 rebounds, eclipsing 3,000-career points in the process, as the Liberty outlasted the Washington Mystics 79-76 in overtime on Thursday at the Verizon Center.
Charles, who notched her fifth double-double of the season and the 102nd of her career, tied Tamika Catchings and Sheryl Swoopes for the 10th-fastest to score 3,000 points, doing so in her 175th-career game. Charles now has 3,005-career points and 1,830 rebounds.
Two of her points came during a big moment late in the game. New York trailed 76-75 with under a minute remaining in overtime as Sugar Rodgers drove baseline but had her shot blocked by Stefanie Dolson.
Charles was there for the rebound, and made a short jump hook to give the Liberty the lead for good. Rodgers iced it with a pair of makes at the line 20 seconds later.
Guard Epiphanny Prince made her New York debut, after missing the first 10 games of the season to compete in the Eurobasket 2015 Women Tournament. She came off the bench to log 31 minutes and was one of four players to score in double figures for the Liberty, finishing with 12 points and a pair of assists.
Rodgers pushed her double-digit scoring streak to seven in a row, finishing with 15 while knocking down two more 3-pointers. Tanisha Wright rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12, and hit two clutch free throws with 3.1 remaining in regulation to force overtime.
Early in the game it was about withstanding a hot start from the Mystics, who stormed out to a 15-6 lead. At that point Prince checked in for the first time and provided an immediate spark.
She missed her first shot in a Liberty uniform, driving to the rim for a layup, but Carolyn Swords was there to grab the rebound and complete the easy finish.
Prince would heat up, scoring six points in the first quarter as New York chipped away at its deficit and pulled within 25-20 heading into the second stanza.
From there Charles and Rodgers completely took over the game as New York erupted for 30 second-quarter points, matching its highest scoring period of the season, taking a 50-46 lead into the half.
Charles tied the game at 28-28 as she drove to the basket and was able to get a jump hook to drop over fellow UConn Huskie Stefanie Dolson, but Washington had the answer with a Tayler Hill trey on the other end.
Finally, New York took its first lead of the game as Rodgers drained a pull-up three in transition to make it 43-40, part of a 15-6 Liberty run to close out the half.
The Liberty would steadily extend the lead as the third quarter progressed, going up by as many as 10 points as Prince found Charles for a layup to make it 64-54. However, New York experienced a prolonged offensive drought through the end of regulation, seeing Washington regain the lead on a Natasha Cloud finger role early in the fourth quarter.
The Liberty did enough to keep close, as neither team found much offensive rhythm in the fourth. It did not help that there was a 17-minute delay with 2:03 remaining when a power surge at the Verizon Center turned off the arena lighting.
The game was tied at 67-67 heading into that stoppage. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt hit two free throws after the break to put Washington up by two, then Wright’s free throws with mere seconds remaining sent the game to overtime.
New York’s road swing continues this Sunday afternoon when it heads to Atlanta to face the Dream. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m., and the game will air on the MSG Network.
New York Liberty Postgame Notes
- With a layup at 3:16 in the 3rd quarter, Tina Charles scored the 3,000th point of her career. She needed 175 games played to reach 3,000 points, tied for the 10th-fewest games in WNBA history.
- New York shot 11-of-16 and scored 30 points in the second quarter. That matched the highest scoring quarter of the year for the Liberty and the 50 points in the first half trailed just 51 in the first half of the season opener against Atlanta.
- The Liberty continued its dominance in the paint, outscoring Washington 44-14 on the interior.
- Epiphanny Prince made her New York Liberty debut scoring 12 points in 31 minutes off the bench
- The Liberty held a 25-10 edge in bench scoring.
- Kiah Stokes swatted five shots, all in the second half and overtime, and now has 25 this season.
- New York improves to 7-4 overall to take over sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference; the Liberty have won three in a row for the first time this season.
- Sugar Rodgers scored 15 points to reach double figures for the 7th-straight game.
- With 2:06 remaining in the 4th quarter a power surge turned off the arena lighting, resulting in a 17-minute delay.
- New York played its first overtime game of the season.