LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – JUNE 6, 2016 -The New York Liberty continues its three-game road trip on Tuesday night when it faces off against the undefeated Los Angeles Sparks at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. (PT). This will be the second meeting of the season between New York and LA, with the Sparks erasing an eight-point deficit over the final 1:20 of regulation in the first meeting of the year at Madison Square Garden to grab a 79-72 overtime win.
The Sparks are one of two unbeaten teams remaining in the WNBA, the Minnesota Lynx being the other, and are coming off back-to-back wins of the San Antonio Stars. Tina Charles had 17 points and 16 rebounds to lead New York in the first meeting, while Nneka Ogwumike had 25 points and 15 rebounds to for Los Angeles
The Liberty opened up a three-game road trip with an 86-78 victory over the Seattle Storm at KeyArena on Sunday evening. Tina Charles led the way for New York, which had its most balanced team effort of the season with four players scoring in double figures. Charles had 19 points and 13 rebounds, Sugar Rodgers finished with 18, and Shavonte Zellous tallied 12 points off the bench.
Tina Charles has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season. In three games last week, Charles helped lead the Liberty to a 2-1 record, while averaging 18.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg, and 3.3 apg. She currently leads the WNBA in scoring (21.4 ppg), rebounding (11.6 rpg) and minutes (35.6 mpg).
Kiah Stokes had three more blocked shots in the win over Seattle, and currently ranks second in the WNBA with 2.3 blocks per game. She already ranks eighth in Liberty history with 83 career blocks in 41-career games played. Her swat of Breanna Stewart late in the 4th quarter on Sunday was No. 3 on SportsCenter’s top-10 plays of the day.
The Liberty leads the all-time series against the Sparks 21-19 and has won two in a row at the Staples Center. Last year’s game was a low-scoring 59-53 New York victory.
PLAYER TO WATCH
The Sparks fired 21 3-point attempts in the first game against the Liberty, and as a team are shooting .425 from long distance, so matching that output will be key. New York is allowing teams to .254 from three, the second best mark in the league, but the Liberty will also look to Sugar Rodgers to match some of that output.
Rodgers leads the Liberty and is second in the WNBA with 20 3-pointers so far this season, and is shooting .417 from long distance. Rodgers scored 13 points in the first game against LA but was just 2-for-10 from 3-point range. New York will look to her to provide scoring from the outside.
The Liberty enjoyed its most balanced offensive game of the season in the 86-78 victory over Seattle on June. 5. For the first time this year, New York saw four players score in double figures, led by Tina Charles’ double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds. Sugar Rodgers chipped in 18 points, Shavonte Zellous tallied 12 points, and Brittany Boyd finished with 10.