UNCASVILLE, CONN. – AUGUST 29, 2015 – The New York Liberty became the first team in the WNBA this season to reach 20 wins, picking up an 80-66 victory over the Connecticut Sun on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Already in possession of the best record in the league, and a day removed from securing its first playoff berth since the 2012 season, New York produced a balanced offensive effort to improve to 20-8 overall, reaching 20 wins for the first time since 2010 while becoming the fastest team in franchise history to do so.
The Liberty had to withstand a spirited effort from a depleted Connecticut squad that had leading scorer Alex Bentley on the bench due to injury. After New York dominated the first half and opened a 43-33 lead at the intermission, Connecticut stormed out to a 46-44 lead in the third quarter, opening the period on a 13-1 run capped by a Camille Little bank shot that give the Sun its first lead since it was 9-8.
The Liberty would eventually go back in front by five thanks to a Tanisha Wright 3-pointer, before ultimately entering the final quarter tied 57-57; it was the first time all season the Libs were tied heading into the fourth.
Sparked by a Swin Cash triple with 7:38 to play, New York closed the game on a 19-5 run, limiting the Sun to just nine points in the fourth quarter. Tina Charles found Kiah Stokes under the rim for an easy two to make it 70-63, and the lead reached double figures as Epiphanny Prince stripped Jasmine Thomas near the top of the key and sprinted down for a fast-break two.
Prince led New York with 18 points while Stokes recorded her third-career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Charles was an efficient 7-of-9 from the field to finish with 15 points, while Cash made it four in double figures with 11, her third double-digit scoring effort of the season.
The Sun had no answer for New York’s balanced offensive attack early on. After the teams traded jabs to start the game, New York scored on three-straight possessions after a media timeout to open up a 17-11 lead.
Cash drained a turn around fade away along the baseline, Brittany Boyd went coast-to-coast for an easy lay-in, and Prince used a Stokes screen to create an open look from 15-feet that she calmly knocked down to cap the scoring spurt.
Prince scored eight of her points in the opening quarter, using a pump fake and spin move to fake out Kelly Faris later in the period to create another wide open look that she converted.
The Liberty lead reached as many as 13 in the second quarter and settled at 10 at halftime after Charles beat the buzzer with a long two-pointer for her 10th points of the period.
New York will return to action on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, when it hosts the Atlanta Dream. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
New York Liberty Game Notes
- New York becomes the first team in the WNBA to reach 20 wins this season and the fastest to do so in franchise history.
- The Liberty shot 71.4 percent (10-of-14) in the first quarter.
- Connecticut opened the second half on a 13-1 run to take a 46-44 lead, its first since it was 9-8.
- The Liberty entered the fourth quarter tied for the first time this season.
- New York ended the game on a 19-5 run
- The Liberty has the best road record in the league, now 10-5 away from Madison Square Garden
- New York shot a season-high 55.9 percent from the field.
- Kiah Stokes had her 3rd double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
- New York has now won the season series against the Sun, taking all three games the teams have played so far this year.