NEW YORK, N.Y. – AUGUST 20, 2015 – The New York Liberty returns to Madison Square Garden to host the Atlanta Dream on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on MSG Network and NBA TV. It is Back to School Night presented by Foot Locker.
The Liberty had won five-straight at The Garden before suffering an 81-76 setback to the Tulsa Shock last Saturday night, but New York bounced back in a big way with a dominating 73-45 win at San Antonio on Wednesday night.
The swarming defense limited the Stars to just 17 field goals on 27.0 percent shooting, and the 45 points allowed matched the lowest for a WNBA team in 2015. The Liberty continues to lead the league in points allowed (70.0) and defensive field goal percentage (38.1).
The Dream roll into town ranked sixth in the Eastern Conference at 9-15 overall, but facing any conference rival figures to be a difficult task and Atlanta has been finding more success as of late.
Atlanta has won 2-of-3, which includes victories on the road over Tulsa and at home against Connecticut. Sandwiched between those wins was an 84-82 loss to Western Conference leading Minnesota, a game the Dream led by as many as 16 points in the second half. Atlanta also boasts the league’s third-ranked offensive threat in Angel McCoughtry, averaging 20.1 ppg.
The Liberty won the first two meetings of the year against Atlanta, using a balanced effort of four players scoring in double figures in the season opener on June 5, and a stellar 18-point performance from rookie Brittany Boyd in the second matchup on June 21.
New York had won five straight in the series before Atlanta snapped its skid with an 84-76 win in Philips Arena on July 12. The Dream dominated play early, leading by as many as 19, before the Liberty stormed back to tie the game, before ultimately seeing its comeback attempt fall short. McCoughtry had 32 points in that win, the most for an individual against New York this season, and the Dream’s 84 points matched a season high for a Liberty foe.
McCoughtry has been able to find her points against almost everyone, and New York has not been an exception, as she is averaging 25.3 ppg in three meetings this year. The key for the Liberty will be controlling everyone else. Atlanta, did put up 84 points in its victory last month, but that came on the heels of a 64-point performance just three weeks earlier where the Dream shot just 29.7 percent from the field.
THE BEST START SINCE…
- New York has trumped the 2001 squad as the fastest to reach 17 victories, no Liberty team has ever been 17-7 through 24 games.
- 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.
- The Liberty has won four-games in a row on two occassions. The last New York squad to boast two separate winning streaks of at least four games was the 2007 team.
- For Bill Laimbeer, the 17 wins signify the most for him since his 2008 Detroit Shock squad went 22-12 and won the WNBA title.
The Liberty did not give the San Antonio Stars much room to operate offensively when it picked up a 73-45 win at Freeman Coliseum on August 19, with the 45 points matching a WNBA single-game season low for 2015 (Seattle at Tulsa, 6/9/15). New York limited the Stars to just 27.0 percent from the field, a season-best defensively and the fourth time this year the Liberty has held an opponent under 30 percent from the field. San Antonio scored just six points in the second quarter, and only seven the in the fourth. The six points were a single-quarter low for a Liberty foe and it was the first time this year the Liberty held an opponent to single digits during two quarters of the same game.
LAST TIME OUT – NEW YORK 73, SAN ANTONIO 45
- The Liberty held San Antonio without a point for more than seven minutes from the end of the first quarter to the 3:34 mark of the second. The Stars’ six 2nd quarter points were the fewest for a New York foe in any game this season.
- New York led by as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter, its largest lead over any team this season.
- Tina Charles played just 23 minutes but still led all scorers with 18 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
- Brittany Boyd scored in double figures in back-to-back games for the second time in her career, finishing with 10 points, four assists and four steals.
- San Antonio scored just 45 points, tied for the fewest in the WNBA this season (Seattle at Tulsa, 6/9).
- The 27.0 percent field goal percentage for the Stars was the lowest for a Liberty foe in 2015 and the fourth time this year New York has held an opponent under 30 percent shooting.
- New York improved to 8-2 against the Western Conference this season.
SHE’S GOT GAME
Most look to the addition of Epiphanny Prince to the New York Liberty lineup in terms of what she brings to the team in terms of scoring, and no doubt, at 15.1 ppg she provides a sizable offensive boost. However, her all around game rounds out the overall positive impact she has on the court. Prince leads New York with 3.7 assists per game and 2.1 steals per game, pacing the Liberty in each category seven times this season boasting six games with at least five assists.
ATLANTA DREAM SEASON SERIES NOTES
- New York won the only meeting of the season at Madison Square Garden 82-73 back on opening night.
- The Liberty had won five in a row over the Dream prior to its 84-76 loss on July 12.
- Epiphanny Prince made her first start as a member of the Liberty in the last game against the Dream, finishing with 14 points, four assists and three steals.
- Brittany Boyd came off the bench to lead the Liberty with 18 points in its win at Atlanta on June 21, significant because Boyd was the first Liberty rookie to lead both teams offensively in a win since Becky Hammon in a 72-55 victory over Cleveland on Aug. 19, 1999.
- In three games against Atlanta this year, Tina Charles is averaging 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.
- Boyd has also enjoyed success against the Dream, averaging 14.0 ppg while shooting 57.1 percent from the field (12-of-21).
- Angel McCoughtry is averaging 25.3 ppg against New York this season and her 32 points in the Dream’s win back in July are the most for an individual against the Liberty this season.