UNCASVILLE, CONN. – JUNE 16, 2016 – Behind a career-high tying 32 points from forward Tina Charles the New York Liberty held off the Connecticut Sun 80-72 on Thursday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. New York has now won three straight and improves to 7-4 overall.
Charles was masterful on Thursday night, scoring every which way with takes to the hoops, mid-range jumpers and long-distance shooting. She added two more 3-pointers to her season tally in the win, and has five triples over the past two games, three more than she had in her career heading into 2016.
Despite leading by as many as 11 points in the second half, the Liberty found itself in a tie game, 70-70, after Alex Bentley nailed a 3-pointer with 2:35 to play.
On New York’s next possession, Shavonte Zellous was able to get to the line, where she made both to give the lead back to the Liberty. New York dialed up consecutive defensive stops, and made it a two possession game as Sugar Rodgers calmly nailed a 20-footer near the top of the key late in the shot clock.
The Liberty ended the game on a 10-2 run over the final 2:13 to secure the win. Also scoring in double figures for New York was Zellous, who racked up 11 points, and Tanisha Wright and Kiah Stokes, both of whom finished with 10.
Charles was 13-of-25 from the field; tying for the most field goals in the WNBA this season (a mark she already held) and her 25 attempts are the most for a WNBA player this season.
Early in the first quarter, Swin Cash surpassed 5,000-career points, becoming the 14th player in WNBA history to do so. She is one of just two players in WNBA history to have 5,000 points, 2,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. The only other is Tamika Catchings.
Cash also moved into eighth place all-time with 2,449 rebounds, passing Lauren Jackson on Thursday night.
The Sun led by one after 10 minutes, but New York held Connecticut to 5-of-13 shooting with six turnovers in the second period as the Liberty broke out to a 41-36 lead at the half.
The Sun pulled within three early in the third, and then the Liberty answered with a 10-0 run that featured a Charles three and was capped off by a Zellous baseline jumper to beat the shot clock.
The Liberty continues its three-game road trip on Sunday afternoon when it heads to Indianapolis to face the Indiana Fever. Tipoff is at 2 p.m.
• Swin Cash’s 5,000th-career point came at 5:22 in the first quarter. She is the 14th player in WNBA history to reach 5,000-career points.
• Entering the game New York ranked first (39.8) in the league in point in the paint while Connecticut was third, New York won the interior battle 30-28.
New York has won seven straight against Connecticut, the longest winning-streak for either team in the history of the series.
• The Liberty hauled in 12 offensive rebounds and outscored the Sun 18-6 in second-chance opportunities.
• Earlier in the day it was announced that Tina Charles was named a finalist for the Sports Humanitarian of the Year Award. As one of four finalists she will receive $25,000 to donate to Hopey’s Heart Foundation, which she started in the memory of her late aunt in 2013.