NEW YORK LIBERTY (19-12) vs. CHICAGO SKY (12-18)
Sunday, Aug. 27 • New York, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden) • 3:00 PM (ET)
TV: MSG/NBA TV
On its longest winning streak since the 2010 season, the New York Liberty will continue a late-season 3-game home stand when it hosts the Chicago Sky on Sunday afternoon at The Garden at 3 PM. Both teams are coming off crucial victories on Friday night, with the Liberty taking control of 4th in the league standings by holding off the Mystics 74-66, while Chicago kept its playoff hopes alive with a key road win over the Connecticut Sun 96-83. The teams have split the two matchups so far this season, each winning on their opponent’s home court.
• The New York Liberty won its 7th in a row, and 6th-straight at The Garden, with a 74-66 victory over the Washington Mystics. Tina Charles and Epiphanny Prince both scored 20 points, and the Liberty had 4 starters in double figures. New York dropped its magic number to clinch a WNBA Playoffs 1st round bye to 2, by securing a 2-1 season series victory over the Mystics.
• The Liberty has won 7-straight games, for its longest winning streak since the 2010 season, when the team won 10 in a row on the way to a 22-12 overall record. New York last won 6 straight in 2015, when it won a franchise record 23 games.
• New York is one win away from securing its 3rd-consecutive 20-win season, a feat the team has never accomplished in franchise history. The Liberty have only posted back-to-back 20-win seasons twice, 2000-01 and 2015-16.
• Tina Charles and is 1 points way from passing WNBA legend Chamique Holdsclaw (4,716) for 20th-place in WNBA history in scoring. Like Charles, Holdsclaw is a native of Queens, N.Y., and attended Christ the King High School.
• Tina Charles and Epiphanny Prince both scored 20 points in the win over the Mystics, just the 3rd time they posted at least 20 points in the same game this year.
Allie Quigley has been been an issue for the Liberty all season, averaging 16.0 ppg in the two meetings, which included a 22-point performance in the last meeting. New York will look to counter Quigley with Epiphanny Prince, who has led a resurgent Liberty 3-point attack over the last five games. With New York shooting .400 from deep as a team during that span, Prince has been the most efficient, making 10 of her last 19 3-point attempts (.526).
New York held on to pick up an 86-82 win over the Chicago Sky on July 30 at Allstate Arena. A tight game throughout, New York never led by more than 11 points as the Sky shot 8-of-15 (.533) from 3-point range, including 4 makes from deep from Allie Quigley. Tina Charles led a balanced Liberty offensive attack that saw 5 players score in double figures as she finished with 15 points, while Sugar Rodgers came off the bench to score 14 points, shooting 4-of-7 from deep.
Tina Charles and Epiphanny Prince both finished with 20 points in the win over Washington on Aug. 25 at The Garden, just the 3rd time this season when the Liberty’s pair of All-WNBA stars have reached 20 points in the same game, and the 1st since May 30 against the Los Angeles Sparks. New York is 2-1 when both Charles and Prince score at least 20.
New York held the Washington Mystics to just 66 points in its 74-66 win on Aug. 25, making it the 4th time over the past five games an opponent has failed to surpass 70 points against New York’s dominant defense. This includes a 50 points game for the Indiana Fever on Aug. 23, which is the lowest single-game point total for a WNBA team this season. Over the last 5 games, teams are averaging just 63.2 ppg against New York and shooting .367 from the field and .211 from 3-point range.
The Liberty has seen its 3-point shooting percentage improve to .338 for the season thanks to a recent hot streak from beyond the arc. Over the past 5 games, New York is shooting 40.0 percent (36-of-90) from 3-point range as a team, and has gotten a huge boost in scoring as opponents have made just 20 3-pointers over that same span, making .211 percent. Epiphanny Prince is 10-of-19 (.526) from three over the last 5 games.
THE DIFFERENCE IS DEFENSE
New York is currently on a season-long 7-game winning streak, and while the offense has been clicking since a change to the starting lineup was made just prior to the All-Star Break, the Liberty’s defensive pressure has been a huge factor in rattling off 7-straight wins. Over the past seven games, New York is limiting its opponents to just 67.0 ppg, .373 shooting from the field and .264 from 3-point range. The Liberty has held 4 of its last 6 opponents under 40 percent from the field, and limited Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Washington to fewer than 70 points when they visited The Garden. New York has a +10.7 scoring differential over the current winning streak, a sizable jump from its +2.0 ppg advantage over the course of the season.
CHANGES PAYING DIVIDENDS
Prior to it game against the Washington Mystics on July 16, the Liberty made a change to the starting lineup, inserting Bria Hartley at point guard, while allowing Epiphanny Prince to play shooting guard, while Sugar Rodgers would provide fire power off the bench. Since then, New York has gone 11-3, and seen improvement across the board in nearly every offensive category, in some places drastically, particularly defensively with an opponent ppg that has decreased by more than 7 ppg.