PHOENIX, ARIZ. – JUNE 30, 2016 – The New York Liberty continues its three-game road trip on Friday night when it faces the Phoenix Mercury at Talking Stick Resort Arena at 10 p.m. (ET).
This will be the second meeting in five days between the Liberty in Mercury, with Phoenix capturing the first game 104-97 in overtime, after erasing a late six point deficit to force an extra period. After trailing 18-4 early on, New York came back to grab a 10-point lead heading into the 4th quarter, but a resilient Mercury team came back, tying the game on three Diana Tauarasi free throws with 7.8 remaining. New York will be looking for back-to-back wins at Phoenix for the first time since 2011-12, having swept two games against the Mercury last season.
• Behind a career-high 30 points from Sugar Rodgers, the Liberty erased a 15-point 4th quarter deficit by ending regulation on a 17-2 run to come back and beat the Minnesota Lynx 95-92 on Wednesday night in Minnesota. Rodgers tied the Liberty single-game record with 7 made 3-pointers, including a game-tying triple with under a minute to play. It was the largest deficit overcome for a win for New York this season, and the Liberty improved to 7-1 on the road.
• Tina Charles missed Wednesday night’s game against the Lynx after undergoing a reduction procedure for her broken nose originally suffered at Atlanta on June 22. It was the first missed game for Charles since joining the Liberty and the first regular season game she has missed since Sept. 15, 2013.
• The Liberty has seen four of its last five games go into overtime and New York has already played in six overtime games this season, a new franchise record and the most since five games went to OT In 1999. The WNBA single-season record for overtime games is seven.
• This will be the second meeting in less than a week between New York and Phoenix. The Mercury came back from a six-point 4th quarter deficit to win in OT last Sunday at The Garden.
PLAYER TO WATCH
What will Sugar Rodgers do for an encore? After scoring a career-high 30 points at Minnesota on Wednesday night, Rodgers is averaging 26.5 ppg over the last two contests, including 23 against the Mercury when these two teams met last Sunday in New York.
Taking advantage of her role in the starting lineup, Rodgers has emerged as one of the most dynamic scoring options in the WNBA this year, nearly doubling the 8.1 ppg she averaged a year ago, while also improving on her 3-point shooting. She leads the league with 48 triples this year, and is sixth, shooting .440 from 3-point range. Over the past three games, she is averaging five 3-pointers per contest.
So far this season New York has demonstrated the importance of getting off to a strong start and the Liberty is 8-1 when leading after the first quarter and at halftime. New York is a perfect 5-0 when grabbing a lead through 10 minutes of action in road contests.
Through just 16 games this season the Liberty has already set a new franchise record playing in six overtime games, breaking the previous mark of five OT games all the way back in 1999. New York has seen four of its last five games go to OT (the only other during that stretch was a one-point win over Chicago) and is now 3-3 in overtime this season. The WNBA single-season record for overtime games is seven, accomplished three times.