INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – JULY 28, 2015 – The Liberty will play its first game of the second half of the season in Indiana on Wednesday night at 7 PM when it takes on the Indiana Fever for the third time this season.
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ALL-TIME: Indiana leads 36-22
2015 SEASON: Tied 1-1
LAST MEETING: IND 80, NYL 63 (June 19, 2015)
New York is hoping the All-Star break will not result in a cool down. The Liberty have been red hot- it is riding a five-game winning streak, having swept three Western Conference opponents on its west coast trip before the break in Phoenix, Seattle and Los Angeles. The team is off to its best start (12-5) since 2001, and holds the top spot in the Eastern Conference by one game over the Chicago Sky.
This is the third meeting between the Liberty and the Fever, who have really split the season series. New York beat Indiana, 86-79, in the third game of the season, outscoring the Fever 24-13 in the third quarter, while Indiana responded 10 days later with a 32-12 first quarter on the way to an 80-63 victory at The Garden. The Liberty was without Epiphanny Prince in the first two games of this series.
Prince has been a key factor to New York’s success- scoring in double figures in all of her seven games with New York, including 13 just before the All-Star break to separate the Liberty from the Sparks in the final minutes of the game. It comes as no surprise that with Prince inserted into the lineup, New York’s All-Star center Tina Charles has thrived.
Fresh off her All-Star start, in which she scored a game high in the first half with 13 points, Charles looks to continue her offensive parade that she has been holding throughout this winning streak. She is averaging 19.6 points in the last five games, including a 30 point performance at Seattle on July 21 and 22 against Connecticut at Madison Square Garden on July 16. She leads the Liberty in scoring, rebounds and minutes this season.
Indiana did not go into the All-Star break on such a high note. It dropped two straight away games against the San Antonio Stars and Washington Mystics, each by 18 point margins. The Fever will play tonight against the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena before traveling back home to face the Liberty tomorrow night.
WIN STREAK TECHNIQUE
New York has won five games in a row for the first time since 2010 and it should come as no surprise that this success if due thanks in large part to stifling defense and dominance on the glass. Over the past five games, New York is allowing just 65.6 points per game and holding a +7.0 scoring advantage over the opposition. The rebounding numbers are even more astounding. Including team rebounds, New York is averaging an incredible 52.4 rebounds per game over the past five games, compared to just 39.2 for its opponents, a +13.2 margin on the glass. All-Star Tina Charles has been a standout individually, averaging a double-double with 19.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game during the winning streak.
LAST TIME OUT – NEW YORK 59, LOS ANGELES 53
- The Liberty have now won five games in a row for the first time since Aug. 6, 2010.
- New York continued to build on its best start since 2001, entering the All-Star break at 12-5. In 2001 New York started 16-5.
- Epiphanny Prince has scored in double figures in all seven games since making her season debut on July 9.
- New York improved to 2-1 this season in the second game of a back-to-back.
- The Liberty had 19 offensive rebounds compared to 3 for the Sparks, resulting in 16 second chance points to LA’s 4.
- New York swept the season series with LA for the first time since 2010.
- There was not a three-pointer in this game until Kristi Toliver’s long ball at the 25 second mark of the fourth quarter.
- Tina Charles recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
- The Liberty bench outscored the Sparks’ bench 30-6.
BATTLE OF THE BENCH
One of New York’s other strength’s this season has been its depth and productivity off the bench. The Liberty are averaging 27.6 ppg from its bench, which ranks third in the WNBA, and has outpaced the opposition in bench scoring in 13-of-17 games. However, Indiana leads the league in bench points with 28.3 per game and in two meetings with New York has held a decisive edge in scoring from its second unit. The Fever’s bench outscored New York’s in both meetings so far this year, holding a cumulative edge of 77-48, boasting two of the four times the Liberty’s reserves have been outscored this season.