NEW YORK LIBERTY (1-2) at INDIANA FEVER (0-5)
Saturday, June 2 • Indianapolis, IN (Bankers Life Fieldhouse) • 7:00 PM (ET)
TV: League Pass, Fox Sports Indiana, MSG+
The New York Liberty aim to win two straight and claim its first road win against the Indiana Fever. The Fever, who is still seeking its first win of the season, have dropped five straight.
Tina Charles leads the league in scoring with 23.7 ppg (as of 5/30)
New York (.324) and Indiana (.323) are nearly identical from three-point territory and close in field goal percentage shooting .418 and .412, respectively (as of 5/30).
Kia Nurse’s 14.0 ppg ranks 24th in the league but third in the rookie column (as of 5/30).
Nurse’s .375 clip from far is fifth-best amongst rookies (as of 5/30).
Charles’ 8.7 boards a game slot her fifth on the WNBA leaderboards.
Bria Hartley’s 5.0 helpers a game place her fifth in the league.
Marissa Coleman spent the previous four seasons in a Fever uniform, two of them alongside Shavonte Zellous.
New York’s resurgence of energy will rely heavily on Kia Nurse as Indiana’s relies strongly on Kelsey Mitchell. Nurse’s 14.0 ppg off the bench are second-leading on the sqaud. Mitchell, who is predicted to champion the Fever rebuild, leads her team with 16.8 ppg. Moreover, she is shooting .405 from behind the arc. Her 15 makes more than double makes from any player on the Liberty roster. Nurse is shooting .375 from distance with more makes (6) than her teammates.
On August 23, 2017, Sugar Rodgers put up a team-high 16 points off the bench and New York beat Indiana 71-50 for their sixth straight victory.
Also ending in double-figures, Tina Charles added 13 points and nine rebounds, Bria Hartley had 12 points, and Epiphanny Prince 11.
Candice Dupree scored 12 points for Indiana amid a five-game losing streak. Erica Wheeler and Jeanette Pohlen-Mavunga each added 10 points. Indiana was 1-of-10 from 3-point territory and shot 34.5-percent for the night.
The Fever got to 11 points with eight minutes to go, but New York benefitted a 15-5 run to seal the win.
THERE’S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
New York’s 94-89 victory over Dallas last Tuesday marked the first victory for first-year head coach Katie Smith. Formerly known as the Detroit Shock, Smith’s first victory came against a team in which she spent time with as a player (2006-09).
As of May 30, Bria Hartley ties for fifth in the league with 5.0 apg. This clip includes a six-assist effort against Chicago (5/20) to open the season and another six-assist performance most recently versus Dallas (5/29). Her career-high stands at seven which was established On May 20, 2016 against Los Angeles. She currently leads the team with 15 helpers on the season.
HELPING THE CAUSE
Shavonte Zellous’ nine assists against Dallas (5/29) rewrote her previous career-high of six, established against Minnesota on August 20, 2017. Zellous mirrored six assists on four other occasions. Epiphanny Prince was the last Liberty player to earn nine assists in a contest on July 2, 2017 at Atlanta.
IN GOOD COMPANY
Tina Charles’ 34 points and 10 rebounds against Dallas (5/29) marked the seventh time in her career where she’s finished with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in her career. She now ties Angel McCoughtry for 4th most in WNBA history, behind Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie, and Candace Parker.
Kia Nurse has made 10 consecutive free throws to start the season which includes the rookie going 5-for-5 against Dallas (5/29). Nurse is one of two rookies to have a perfect clip at the stripe. Chicago’s Diamond DeShields has gone 12-of-12 as of May 30.
“I’m happy with the direction we are going. I wasn’t happy with the first-quarter but I thought from Chicago to Minnesota we made some jumps. This game obviously the first quarter took a little bit but I thought that next three quarters, there’s that consistency of how we are doing things. Running the basketball, pushing tempo on teams. We are gradually getting there, lots of little things we can improve on. And all of us, coaches, players everything we are feeling each other out. I’m pleased with the way we are attacking both their stars and every single person and on the defensive end really disrupting people.”