Liberty Storm Past the Sky 84-63

NEW YORK – AUGUST 11, 2015 – Epiphanny Prince scored 22 points and Kiah Stokes recorded her second-career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds as the New York Liberty handled the Chicago Sky 84-63 on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

BOX SCORE | HIGHLIGHTS | KIAH STOKES INTERVIEW | PHOTO GALLERY

With the win, New York improved to 15-6 overall and extended its current win streak to three, opening up a 2.5 game lead over the Washington Mystics for first place in the Eastern Conference. The Liberty improved to 8-2 at The Garden and have won five-straight on its home court dating back to late June.

Chicago (14-10), the league’s top scoring team at 84.2 ppg, was without leading scorer Elena Delle Donne, who did not dress due to an ankle injury suffered in the Sky’s win over Phoenix on Sunday afternoon.

New York boasts the best defensive numbers in the league, ranking first in the WNBA in points allowed and defensive field goal percentage, and held Chicago to 63 points for a second-straight game, after picking up a 77-63 win on the road Friday night.

Outside of a few moments early in the second half, the outcome of Tuesday night’s game rarely seemed in doubt.

A 12-4 run in the first quarter, capped off by four-straight points from Swin Cash, helped New York build a 16-8 lead fewer than seven minutes into the action. After Brittany Boyd found Carolyn Swords for a layup seconds before the buzzer sounded, the Liberty led 26-17 through 10 minutes of play.

The lead expanded to as many as 14 in the second quarter and New York’s halftime cushion was nine, but Chicago stormed out of the gate early in the third. The Sky scored eight of the first 10 points of the quarter, making it a one-possession game, 47-44 on a Cappie Pondexter drive to the rim.

That was as close as things would get. The Liberty rattled off 10 unanswered and never saw its lead dip down to single digits again. A span of just over 90 seconds saw Prince bury a 16-footer, Tanisha Wright sink a short jumper and Essence Carson deliver a 3-pointer to cap a 7-0 spurt that made it 54-44.

Led by Stokes’ 13 points, New York scored 38 bench points, compared to just 13 for the Sky. New York outscored Chicago 38-28 in the paint and continued its hot outside shooting against Chicago, nailing six 3-pointers, tied for the second most of the year; in three games against the Sky this season the Liberty is averaging 7.0 3-pointers per game.

New York is back in action on Friday night when it will face the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

NEW YORK LIBERTY POSTGAME NOTES

  • Epiphanny Prince led New York in scoring for a second-straight game. She finished with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
  • Prince is averaging 26.0 ppg in two games against Chicago this season and has missed just seven shots, shooting a combined 20-of-27 (.741).
  • Prince has now scored in double figures in all 11 games she has played this season.
  • Kiah Stokes posted her second-career double-double finishing with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
  • New York improved to 8-2 at Madison Square Garden and has won five-straight on its home floor dating back to June 28.
  • The Liberty saw 38 points come from its bench compared to just 13 for the Sky.
  • New York held a 38-28 edge in the paint and outrebounded Chicago 35-31.
  • The Liberty made six 3-pointers and has seen it three best 3-point shooting games come against Chicago, averaging 7.0 3-pointers per game against the Sky.
  • New York forced 17 turnovers while committing just 14 and is now 8-0 when it wins the turnover battle this season.
  • Tina Charles saw her string of 12-straight games in double figures come to an end.
  • Chicago was withouth the league’s leading scorer Elena Delle Donne who missed the game due to an ankle injury.
  • New York has held Chicago, which leads the league averaging 84.2 ppg. to just 63 points in back-to-back games.
  • Cappie Pondexter, in her first game back in New York, scored a game-high 23 points.