NEW YORK, N.Y. – AUGUST 15, 2015 – The New York Liberty will look to grab its fifth-win in a row when it hosts the Tulsa Shock at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
New York is coming off a 90-78 win at Connecticut on Friday night, a game which saw the Liberty score a season-high 90 points, led by Tina Charles’ season-best 31 points, her second 30-point game of the season, and just one off her career-high of 32.
This will mark the fourth of five back-to-back games for the Liberty this season; New York is currently 2-1 in its second game in as many days.
The Liberty will be looking to avenge a 71-62 loss suffered at Tulsa back on June 26, but since that point the teams have been going in opposite directions. A low scoring affair that saw just one player for each team score in double figures, Riquna Williams for Tulsa and Sugar Rodgers for New York, the Liberty was plagued by a season-high 26 turnovers in that matchup, while the Shock dialed up 10 3-pointers.
Since then, New York has gone 12-2 to reach 16-6 for the first time since 2001, while the Shock are just 3-13, having lost 10 in a row heading into Saturday night.
The Liberty has strung together two separate winning streaks of at least four games for the first time since 2007, and now has a chance to be the fastest team in franchise history to reach 17 victories, the current mark being held by that 2001 squad that opened the year at 17-9.
While Tina Charles continues to put up MVP numbers, ranking fourth in the league in scoring (17.8 ppg) and second in rebounding (9.2 rpg), Epiphanny Prince has been on fire as of late.
She has topped 20 points in three-straight games, averaging 25.0 ppg over that stretch while shooting a blistering 65.9 percent from the field. Prince turned in one of the most complete games of her career in the win over Connecticut on Friday night, scoring 23 points with seven rebounds, six assists and six steals.
New York is 8-2 at Madison Square Garden this season and has won five-straight on its home floor dating back to June 28, a 79-70 win over the Sparks that came just two days after the loss at Tulsa.
THE BEST START SINCE…
- With its 90-78 win over Connecticut on August 14, the Liberty surpassed last season’s win total and now has the most wins since 2011, when New York finished 19-15.
- New York has matched the 2001 squad as the fastest to reach 16 victories. That was also the quickest team to get to 17 wins, needed 26 games to do so (17-9).
- The Liberty has won four-games in a row for the second time this year. The last New York squad to boast two separate winning streaks of at least four games was the 2007 team.
- For Bill Laimbeer, the 16 wins signify the most for him since his 2008 Detroit Shock squad went 22-12 and won the WNBA title.
LIBERTY WILL #BURNBRIGHT WITH KYMORA JOHNSON CHARLOTTESVILLE CAVALIERS ON SATURDAY NIGHT
Kymora Johnson and the under-11 Charlottesville Cavaliers were disqualified from a travel tournament two weeks ago for having a girl on the team, but that will not stop them from playing at Madison Square Garden. The Liberty will be bringing Kymora and her team to play at game on The Garden’s floor on Saturday night after New York battles the Tulsa Shock at the “World’s Most Famous Arena.” Fans will be invited to stay and watch the team play and Liberty players will be in attendance to cheer on the team and meet with Kymora and her teammates as they receive a “fantasy game” experience against a Junior Knicks team from Mt. Vernon, part of the Basketball in the Boroughs and Beyond program presented by Chase.
LAST TIME OUT – NEW YORK 90, CONNECTICUT 78
- Tina Charles answered her lowest scoring game of the season with one of the best of her career, finishing with a season-high 31 points, one shy of her career high. She matched a career high with 14 field goals.
- It was the first time this season both Charles and Epiphanny Prince (23) were over 20 points in the same game
- Prince topped 20 points for the third-straight game and is averaging 25.0 ppg over the last three games.
- New York is 10-2 since Prince made her season debut at Washington on July 9, she has scored in double figures in all 12 games
- New York scored a season-high 90 points.
- New York committed a season-low seven turnovers.
- The Liberty improved to 14-0 when leading at the end of the third quarter
- Swin Cash scored in double figures with 10 points for the first time since opening night when she had 15
- Tanisha Wright had nine assists, the most for a Liberty player this season.
EPIPHANNY PRINCE EN FUEGO
Guard Epiphanny Prince has been nearly impossible to stop on the offensive end over the past three games. She has scored in double figures in all 12 games this season, but recently has taken her game to another level. After scoring 30 points in a win at Chicago on August 7, she followed up with 22 points and three steals in a lopsided Liberty win over the Sky on August 11. Against Connecticut on August 14, she turned in her third-straight 20-point game, finishing with 23 on 9-of-17 shooting with seven rebounds, six assists and six steals. Over the past three games, Prince is averaging 25.0 points per game, shooting 65.9 percent (29-of-44) from the field, in addition to averaging 4.3 assists and 3.3 steals per game. She ranks second on the team averaging 16.0 ppg this season, which would rank seventh in the league.
LAST TIME AGAINST TULSA
- Tulsa picked up a 71-62 win at the BOK Center on June 26.
- After the win, Tulsa had the best record in the WNBA and had won seven in a row including all four games at the BOK Center. Since that game, Tulsa has gone 3-13 while New York is 12-2.
- New York tied the game four times but never took the lead.
- Neither team had a player in double figures until the Williams three-pointer with 1:13 remaining
- Sugar Rodgers led New York with 12 points on 4-8 shooting with two 3-pointers.
- The Liberty committed a season-high 26 turnovers.
- New York outscored Tulsa 24-20 in the paint and held a 32-26 edge on the glass.
WE’RE GOING BACK-TO-BACK
Saturday night’s game will be the fourth back-to-back for the Liberty this season. New York is 2-1 so far in its second game in as many days, most recently winning at Los Angeles, 59-53, a day after playing at Seattle on July 22. The Liberty has one more back-to-back this season, playing Minnesota and Connecticut on consecutive dates on August 28-29.
FINDING AN OFFENSIVE GROOVE
With Epiphanny Prince surging offensively, New York as a team has found an offensive groove as of late. After going the first 20 games of the season without shooting better than 50 percent from the field, the Liberty has done so in consecutive games against Chicago and Connecticut. In the last two wins, New York is shooting 50.7 percent (70-of-138) from the field and averaging a whopping 87.0 ppg. The squad is also getting it done from 3-point range, shooting 10-of-19 from distance, and the Liberty has 45 assists on its 70 made baskets.