NEW YORK LIBERTY (8-8) vs. CHICAGO SKY (5-12)
Friday, July 14 • New York, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden) • 7:30 PM (ET)
The New York Liberty will open a 3-game home stand at Madison Square Garden starting on Friday night against the Chicago Sky. It is the 1st meeting of the year between the two Eastern Conference foes. The Liberty is coming off a 4-game road trip that ended with an 81-69 setback at Phoenix on Friday night, while Chicago beat the Dallas Wings 90-84 on Wednesday afternoon, earning back-to-back wins for the 1st time this season.
• The New York Liberty fell to the Phoenix Mercury 81-69 on Sunday afternoon to fall to 8-8 heading into a 3-game home stand that leads up to the WNBA All-Star Break. The Liberty was coming off a 79-70 win at Seattle, but was unable to get open shots to fall as Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi combined for 50 points in a Mercury win. Tina Charles led the way for New York, posting a 2nd-straight game with 29 points; she currently ranks 2nd in the league in scoring at 20.8 ppg. The Liberty won the season series with Phoenix 2-1.
• Tina Charles was voted as a All-Star starter in the front court for the Eastern Conference it was announced on Tuesday. For Charles it is the 5th All-Star selection of her career and the 3rd time she has been tabbed as a starter. She ranks 1st in the Eastern Conference in scoring and is 2nd in rebounding.
• New York opens a 3-game home stand at Madison Square Garden starting on Friday night, where it has posted a 5-3 record so far in 2017. After the All-Star break, the Liberty will hit the road for 5-straight.
• The Liberty will be facing the Chicago Sky for the 1st time this season. Chicago and Indiana are the only two teams in the league that New York has yet to face in 2017.
Two of the top shooting threats in the league will match up in Allie Quigley and Sugar Rodgers, who ranks 5th and 6th in the WNBA in 3-point shooting respectively. Quigley has been on a tear as of late, scoring 22 points in Chicago’s win over Dallas on Wednesday, while shooting 5-of-9 from 3-point range. Rodgers ranks 24th in the league in scoring and has nailed 35 3-pointers this year which leads the Liberty, but is just 6-of-20 from 3-point range over the last two games.
New York won the 2016 season series against the Sky 2-1 and are 5-2 against Chicago over the past two seasons. Tina Charles posted big numbers against the Sky a year ago, averaging 25.0 ppg and 11.0 rpg in two games played, she sat out the 2016 regular season finale in order to rest. Chicago made just one trip to The Garden last year, an 80-79 win for New York, which saw Chicago rally from 11 down to pull within 1 late in the 4th quarter before Sugar Rodgers hit what proved to be the game-winner with 36.5 seconds remaining.
CHARLES NAMED ALL-STAR STARTER
New York Liberty forward Tina Charles has been voted as a 2017 WNBA All-Star starter as selected by fans, WNBA players and media. For Charles, it is the 3rd time in her career she has been voted as a starter for the Eastern Conference, and she receives her 5th overall All-Star selection. She has had a stellar 1st half of the WNBA season, ranking 2nd in the league in scoring (20.8 ppg) and 3rd in rebounding (9.1 rpg). This year, the WNBA All-Star starters were selected by fans, players, and the media. Charles finished 2nd in the WNBA fan vote for the Eastern Conference front court players, tied for 1st in the media vote, and finished 1st in the player vote. It is her 3rd selection as a member of the New York Liberty (2014, 2015, 2017). There was no All-Star game in 2016 due to the Summer Olympics.
SEND THEM TO SEATTLE
While the Liberty knows it will have at least one representative in Seattle for the 2017 WNBA All-Star Game, there is a compelling argument to be made that Charles should have a couple of teammates joining her in Sugar Rodgers and Shavonte Zellous. Rodgers ranks 10th in the Eastern Conference in scoring at 12.9 ppg and is also 4th in the East with 35 3-pointers. Zellous is not far behind at 12th in the East averaging 12.1 ppg, and she is 6th in the conference with 2.9 apg. Rodgers has scored in double figures 10 times, with a pair of 21 point games, while Zellous turned in an incredible stretch of basketball in June, averaging when she averaged 19.4 ppg with a high of 29 points, her 2nd highest scoring total since 2013.
LIBERTY LEADING IN FG% DEFENSE
New York has ranked 1st in the WNBA in field goal percentage defense for each of the last two seasons and is on pace to set the league mark for a 3rd-straight year, ranking 1st overall yet again, limiting opponents to just .407 percent shooting. The Liberty has held an opponent under 40.0 percent from the field 7 times this season, most recently the Seattle Storm (.375) on July 6. New York is 5-2 in those games.
BIG PERFORMANCE ON THE BOARDS
Center Kiah Stokes hauled in 12 rebounds at Phoenix on July 9, including 7 boards on the offensive glass. It was her highest rebounding tally since she set a new career high of 17 against Atlanta on June 7, while the 7 offensive rebounds tied a career-high. Stokes currently ranks 2nd on the Liberty and 11th in the WNBA, averaging 6.7 rebounds per game.
New York faces a critical 3-game home stand before the All-Star Break, after which the team will embark on a 5-game road trip. The Liberty has fared better at home this year, where it has posted a 5-3 record, particularly on the offensive end. New York is averaging 82.4 ppg at Madison Square Garden, a full 7.1 ppg better than its 75.3 mark on the road. The Liberty is shooting the ball considerably better at home as well, making shots at a clip of .446, compared to .399 away from home.