WASHINGTON, D.C. – JULY 8, 2015 – The New York Liberty head to Washington, D.C., to face the Mystics for the third time this season. The matchup will be carried on MSG Network with tipoff scheduled for 11:30 AM (ET).
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ALL-TIME: New York leads 41-27
2015 SEASON: WAS 2-0
LAST MEETING: WASH 74, NYL 59 (June 14,2015)
New York is seeking revenge against Washington as they have surrender both of the first two games of this series. The Liberty and Mystics both head into this game 6-4 on the season, tied for second place in a tight Eastern Conference. This game will be important later on in the season when the playoff race begins to solidify.
Epiphanny Prince will make her Liberty debut on Thursday, after missing the first 10 games of the season to play in the Eurobasket Tournament. Prince boasts career averages of 14.1 points, 3.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game, and averaged 15.0 ppg last year with the Sky.
New York continues to dominate defensively, holding teams to 36.4 percent from the field, which ranks first in the WNBA. Also, with Kiah Stokes continuing to be a shot blocking machine, the Liberty ranks fourth in the league with 5.4 blocks per game.
The Liberty is coming off a weeks rest after a great win over the Chicago Sky last Tuesday night, 89-81. In that game, Tina Charles had 26 points, with 13 in the first quarter, and Candice Wiggins shot 5-of-5 from 3-point range for 15 of her own. Wiggins’ five three’s contributed to nine long balls for New York for a season high.
Last time the Liberty faced Washington, the team was plagued by 10 Mystics three-pointers with 20 points from their point guard Ivory Latta and 15 by center Stefanie Dolson. New York also shot just 30-percent from the field in that matchup with just one make from long distance.
PRINCE BACK IN HER KINGDOM
Epiphanny Prince will play her frst game in a Liberty uniform at Washington on Thursday. Prince rejoins the team after missing the frst 10 games of the season to compete in the Eurobasket 2015 Tournament. She averaged 13.8 points, 4.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 10 games at the international competition. Prince came over to the Liberty in a blockbuster off season trade that also sent guard Cappie Pondexter to the Chicago Sky. Over her five year WNBA career she is averaging 14.1 points, 3.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game, and averaged 15.0 ppg last year. She hails from Brooklyn, and starred at Murry Bergtraum High School, where she scored 113 points in a game, before attending Rutgers.
LAST TIME OUT – NEW YORK 89, CHICAGO 81
- New York won at Chicago, 89-81, on Tuesday, June 30, at Allstate Arena, wrapping up the frst month of the season with a 6-4 record. Tina Charles lead all scorers with 26 points, and secured her fourth double-double of the season with 11 rebounds.
- The 26 points were the most for a Liberty player this season and it was career-double-double No. 101 for Charles.
- New York led 27-25 after the frst quarter, thanks to 13 points from Charles, who shot 6-of-9 from the feld through 10 minutes of action. The Liberty pulled away after limiting the Sky to just 11 second-quarter points.
- Veteran guard Essence Carson set a new career-high with seven assists in the win.
- As a team, the Liberty shot 9-of-19 from 3-point range, the most 3-pointers in a game for New York this season and the frst time all year the Liberty outscored an opponent from long distance.
- WNBA leading scorer Elena Delle Donne finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds, but shot just 8-of-20 from the feld and 0-for-3 from 3-point range.
- Rookie Kiah Stokes recorded the first double-double of her professional career, scoring 11 points with 10 rebounds, while also blocking two shots; she ranks fourth in the league averaging 2.0 blocks per game.
- Candice Wiggins was unstoppable from 3-point range where she went a flawless 5-of-5 to score a season-high 15 points.
- Sugar Rodgers pushed her double-digit scoring streak to six-straight, netting 11 points while knocking down three 3-pointers for a second-straight game.
CHARLES IN CHARGE – OF THE CHARTS AND THE BASKET
The first results were released for the WNBA All-Star game balloting on Thursday, and Tina Charles ranks third in Eastern Conference front court players, which means she would be starting the all-star game if these results stand. She helped out her campaign on June 30 at the Sky, scoring 26 points, 13 of those in the first quarter, with 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Charles continues to the lead the Liberty in scoring and rebounding with 15.1 ppg and 9.0 rebounds, stats which rank 9th and 4th in the WNBA overall.
WIGGINS CATCHES FIRE
Candice Wiggins was a flame thrower on the June 30 matchup at Chicago, shooting 5-of-5 from 3-point range for a season high 15 points. The performance enabled the sharp-shooting guard to break out of a bit of a scoring slump to start the season, where she hit just one 3-pointer through the frst nine games of the year. She has hit a career-best six 3-pointers two times, the last of which actually came against the Liberty on Sept. 1, 2013, when she was a member of the Tulsa Shock.
PROTECTING THE BASKETBALL
After committing a season-high 26 turnovers in the loss to Tulsa on June 26th, New York rebounded on June 28, committing a season low of nine in the victory over Los Angeles. At Chicago on June 30th, they had only 12 turnovers. At Tulsa, the 26 turnovers led directly to 18 Shock points the other direction. Against LA, New York’s nine turnovers only cost them eight points. The Liberty rank 11th in the league, averaging 16.9 turnovers per game, improving from 18.6 prior to that season low. The Liberty has seen all four losses come when it lost the turnover battle, posting a 2-4 record in those games.