NEW YORK, N.Y. – MAY 15 – The New York Liberty will host the Dallas Wings for its 2016 home opener at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. Both the Liberty and Wings are playing back-to-backs, having picked up road victories to start the season on Saturday night, New York over Washington and Dallas over Indiana.
Tina Charles scored a game-high 24 points and hauled in 11 rebounds to lead the Liberty to an 87-76 win over Dallas in the 2016 season opener. It was career double-double No. 110 for Charles. Sugar Rodgers provided a huge spark off the bench, as she poured in 19 points with three 3-pointers. Rodgers filled up the stat sheet, also tallying 4 steals, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks.
Sunday’s game will be career game and start No. 200 for Charles, who so far in her career has been putting up historic numbers. She boasts career averages of 17.3 ppg (ranked 10th all-time) and 10.2 rpg (1st all-time) and is already second with 110-career double-doubles in 199 games played. Charles is 39th in league history in scoring (3,437 points) and 17th in rebounding (2,029 rebounds).
Shavonte Zellous enters Sunday’s game against Dallas needing just one point to reach 2,000 for her career. In her Liberty debut at Washington on Saturday, Zellous scored eight points with a pair of assists. For her career, she is averaging 9.3 ppg.
It was more of the same for Kiah Stokes in the 2016 season opener as she finished with three blocked shots, and is already closing in on cracking the top-10 in franchise history. In 35 games played, Stokes has 70 blocks, 10 off that No. 10 spot. Last season, she set a Liberty franchise record with 67 blocked shots, finishing ranked fourth in the league averaging 1.9 blocks per game.
Not only is it the home opener for the New York Liberty as it embarks on its historic 20th WNBA season, but fans attending Sunday’s game are in for an exciting night of entertainment. The female leads for the Broadway smash hit “Hamilton” will sing the national anthem prior to tipoff, and the team will be throwing it back to the 1990’s with Montell Jordan performing at halftime.
PLAYER TO WATCH
The Dallas Wings are deep at the guard position, led by Osyssey Sims, who had 14 points and four assists in Dallas’ 90-79 win at Indiana in its season opener on Saturday night. So the Liberty is expected to counter with second year point guard Brittany Boyd. In the Saturday’s win at Washington, Boyd started and finished with seven points, four assists and two steals. She will be relied on to get the offense going again on Sunday, and also counter the skilled Sims.
Boyd enjoyed one of the best games of her rookie season last year when the then Tulsa Shock paid a visit to Madison Square Garden, as she scored a career-high 22 points.
The Liberty really controlled the paint last season, and the same trend held true in the win at Washington. New York outscored its opponents in the paint 28 times last year, posting a 20-8 record in those contests. Against the Mystics, the Liberty was plus-20 on the interior, holding a 42-22 lead in paint scoring.
New York turned the ball over just five times on Saturday night, which results in a big edge in points off turnovers. Only two turnovers in the first half helped New York reach the intermission tied 45-45 despite a big deficit at the free throw line. By the end of the game, the Libs had forced 13 turnovers and outscored Washington 14-5 in points off turnovers.