Home-to-Home: New York Hosts Chicago for Back-to-Back Matchup

NEW YORK, NY- AUGUST 10, 2015 – New York will welcome Chicago to Madison Square Garden for its second straight game against the Sky on Breast Health Awareness Night on Tuesday at 7 PM.

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ALL-TIME: New York leads, 20-18
2015 SEASON: NY, 2-0
LAST MEETING: NYL 77, CHI 63 (August 7, 2015)

After putting up an impressive win against the Sky on Friday night, 77-63, the Liberty will get a chance to secure a series win, having already taken a 2-0 lead in the season series. On Friday, Epiphanny Prince erupted for 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field for a WNBA record of most points scored in the first game against a former team. While Prince did her thing, so did the Liberty defense. New York forced Chicago, the best offensive team in the league, to just 29.9 percent from the field and 63 points. The Sky is averaging a league best 84.2 points per game.

New York sits atop the Eastern Conference with a 14-6 record, 1.5 games over the Sky who are now 14-9. That makes Tuesday night’s game all the more important because not only would it mean a 2.5 game lead, but would also deliver the head-to-head tie breaker with Chicago to New York. It would also be the first time that New York has won the season series against Chicago since 2010, when the team swept them 4-0. They will meet for the last time at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, September 3.

The Liberty’s stingy defense has been a story all season long, and after that impressive game in Allstate Arena on Friday, New York, which had been leading the league in defensive field goal percentage, also moved into first in points allowed, giving up just 70.7 per game. In addition to limiting Chicago to a season-low field goal percentage, Eastern Conference Player of the Week Elena Delle Donne and Cappie Pondexter combined for just six field goals.

There is no place like home. The Liberty are 7-2 at Madison Square Garden this season, its only two home losses coming in back to back games against Washington and Indiana on June 14 and 19. Since then, New York is 4-0 at the mecca, beating teams by an average of 12 points per game in that stretch. Two losses are tied for best in the league with Phoenix and Minnesota who have each only lost twice on home turf.  New York will play eight of its final 14 games at home this season, five of them against Eastern Conference opponents.

Pondexter will make her return to the Garden for the first time since the offseason trade for Prince. Pondexter played five seasons in New York, averaging 17.9 ppg which ranks first for the franchise. She also sits second on the Liberty all-time scoring list with 2,970 points and first for free throws made with 640.

LIBERTY HOSTS #BREASTHEALTHAWARENESS NIGHT
In conjunction with WNBA Breast Health Awareness Week, the Liberty will host Breast Health Awareness night presented by Delta on Tuesday night against the Chicago Sky. The exterior of Madison Square Garden will shine pink for the very first time to mark the occasion and throughout the evening there will be opportunities to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) through live and silent auctions. From 1-8 p.m., the American-Italian Cancer Foundation will a Mobile Care Unit on 7th Avenue to offer no-cost mammograms. During the game, there will be an on court presentation to recognize breast cancer survivors that include Delta employees and Liberty season ticket holders.

OFFENSE VS. DEFENSE
When New York and Chicago match up, the best defensive team in the WNBA clashes with the best offensive team. Chicago leads the league averaing 84.2 ppg, a full 5.5 more than second place Indiana (78.7), but New York ranks first in the WNBA in points allowed per game (70.7) and defensive field goal percentage (.376). In two meetings so far this season, the Liberty has held the Sky 12 points below its average, at 72.0 ppg, and limited them to .348 shooting, compared to their season average of .450.

LAST TIME OUT – NEW YORK 77, CHICAGO 63

  • New York has won back-to-back games against the Sky for the first time since 2012. The Liberty had lost 10 straight against Chicago heading into this season and is 2-0 against them this year.
  • Epiphanny Prince finished with 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting; her previous season high was 17 points. It was her first game against her former team, she spent her first five WNBA seasons in Chicago and was traded to New York for Cappie Pondexter in the offseason.
  • New York limited Elena Delle Donne and Pondexter to just six field goals combined.
  • The Liberty held Chicago to a season-low 29.9 percent from the field, the Sky’s previous season low of 31.5 percent came at Indiana on June 14.
  • It is the third time New York, which entered the day leading the league in opponent field goal percentage at .380, held a team under 30.0 percent from the field and the second time on the road.
  • New York opened up a two-game lead over Chicago and Washington in the East standings.
  • The Liberty outrebounded Chicago 43-33 and held a 28-22 edge in points in the paint.
  • Elena Delle Donne had just 17 points on 4-of-12 shooting. She has four or fewer field goals in just three games this season.

FINDING SUCCESS AGAINST THE SKY
When New York picked up its 89-81 win at Chicago back on June 30, it snapped a 10-game losing streak in the series and was the first for the Liberty over the Sky since August 21, 2012. Tina Charles (26 points, 11 rebounds) and Kiah Stokes (11 points, 10 rebounds) both posted double-doubles for New York and Candice Wiggins burned Chicago to the tune of 15 points, shooting 5-for-5 from 3-point range. The 2012 season was also the last time the Liberty beat Chicago two times in a row.