NEW YORK LIBERTY (2-2) vs. PHOENIX MERCURY (4-3)
Tuesday, June 4 • New York, NY (Madison Square Garden) • 11:00 AM (ET)
Coming off an overtime thriller against Indiana, the New York Liberty look to capture their third straight victory. The Mercury are on a two-game win streak of their own, and they’ll look to spoil the Liberty’s return to Madison Square Garden.
Tina Charles leads the league in scoring with 23.5 ppg (as of 6/4).
Charles’ 9.0 rebounds per game are good for fourth in the league, and the forward has had three consecutive double-doubles.
Kia Nurse’s 19.0 ppg ranks ninth in the league and second among rookies (as of 6/4).
Nurse is shooting 96% from the charity stripe, the third best mark in the league among players with a minimum 10 attempts (as of 6/4).
Bria Hartley is sixth in the league with 4.8 assists per game (as of 6/4).
Phoenix (86.2%) and New York (83.5%) are two of the WNBA’s best free throw shooting teams— they rank second and third in the league, respectively.
New York’s Tina Charles and Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi have long been two of the league’s best players. The former MVPs have met 14 times in the WNBA regular season, and they’ve split the series with seven wins apiece. Both veterans are off to great starts this season— Charles paces the WNBA with 23.5 PPG, while Taurasi has scored 18.6 points per contest, tied for ninth in the league.
On July 9, 2017, Phoenix center Brittney Griner had a dominant performance, scoring 31 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking six shots as the Mercury beat the New York Liberty 81-69.
The Liberty held a 5-4 lead one minute in, but the Mercury would lead the rest of the way, handing New York their fourth loss in five games.
Tina Charles had 29 points for New York and Sugar Rodgers added 14. Aside from Charles, Liberty players made just 17 of their 58 shots (29.3 percent).
ROOKIE RECORD BREAKER
Kia Nurse’s 34 points against Indiana on Saturday were the most by a New York rookie and the most by a reserve in franchise history. Her previous career-high was 17 points, scored in her WNBA debut against Chicago (5/20)
WORK ON THE GLASS
Kiah Stokes grabbed 12 boards in Saturday’s win against Indiana, include nine on the defensive end. The center missed the season opener against Chicago, but has dramatically increased her rebound total in every game since. She averaged 11 boards per game against Phoenix last season.
HIGHLY ANTICIPATED RETURN
Brittany Boyd is set to make her season debut against Phoenix after sitting out the first four contests. The guard missed all but two games last season while rehabbing from a torn Achilles’ tendon. In her last appearance, she scored 16 points against Minnesota (5/18/17).
REINFORCEMENTS FROM THREE
New York has struggled from deep in the early going, hitting just 28.9 percent from three, the third-worst mark in the league. Sugar Rodgers, returning from a three-game absence, should help improve that number. The reigning Sixth Woman of the Year buried 63 shots from behind the arc last season, hitting 34.2 percent of her attempts.
TAKE A SEAT TAKE A STAND
Take a Seat, Take a Stand is the WNBA’s women and girls empowerment program that will allow fans to support great organizations and help change the game for women and girls. For every ticket purchased, including tomorrow’s contest, fans can choose from one of six organizations to which the WNBA will donate $5. A ticket donation will also be made to send a young woman or girl to a game in an effort to inspire her by the strength, talent and leadership of the women of the WNBA.