The New York Liberty will wrap up the first month of the season with a nationally televised game against the Chicago Sky on Tuesday night at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. The contest will be carried on ESPN2 with tipoff scheduled for 8 p.m. (ET).
NEW YORK GAME NOTES: Click Here
ALL-TIME: Chicago leads 20-17
2015 SEASON: First meeting
LAST MEETING: July 31st, 2014 (Chicago): Chicago 87, New York 74
This date was circled on both team’s calendars heading into 2015 after they pulled off a blockbuster offseason trade, in which the Liberty acquired Epiphanny Prince for Cappie Pondexter. Pondexter, who averaged a franchise best 18.5 ppg over five seasons in New York, ranks second for the Sky this year at 16.9 ppg. Prince has been competing in the Eurobasket Women 2015 Tournament, and has yet to make her debut for New York, but both teams boast an identical 5-4 record.
The key for New York will unquestionably be how to stop Elena Delle Donne, who is on pace to post some of the best single-season numbers in WNBA history. She leads Chicago in scoring (29.0 ppg), rebounding (9.6 rpg), blocks (2.7 bpg) and steals (1.6 spg), and already has a pair of 40-point performances this season.
The Liberty on the other hand, continue to boast some of the best defensive numbers in the WNBA. With its win over Los Angeles on Sunday, the Liberty held a seventh opponent under 40.0 percent from the field and lead the league in opponent field goal percentage at 36.0 percent. It will be an interesting test on the road against a Chicago Sky team that averages 85.9 ppg and shoots 45.9 percent overall.
Offensively, New York has seen third-year guard Sugar Rodgers flourish over the past two weeks, especially since she was inserted into the starting lineup at Atlanta on June 21. She has scored in double figures in each of the last five games, averaging 14.6 ppg during that stretch, and since being named a starter she is averaging 17.3 points, while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and knocking down 2.3 3-pointers per game.
CONTROLLING THE PAINT
The Liberty have been dominant in the paint this season, with an edge of 10.2 ppg over its opponents on the interior. New York has outscored eight of nine opponents in the paint, and tied the only other game, and is averaging 31.2 ppg.
LAST TIME OUT – NEW YORK 79, LOS ANGELES 70
- New York beat the Los Angeles Sparks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon, 79-70. Sugar Rodgers led the way for New York, scoring a career-high 23 points (7-of-14 FG) with a career-best three 3-pointers.
- The Liberty broke a 63-63 fourth-quarter tie, by ending the game on a 16-7 run, which included a 9-1 spurt that put the game out of reach. It was the first time the Liberty outscored an opponent in the 4th (38-32) since its win over Phoenix on June 11.
- Kristi Toliver made her season debut for the Sparks and scored 30 points, the most for an individual against New York this year.
- The Liberty limited the Sparks to 36.7 percent shooting from the field, making them the seventh team this season to shoot below 40.0 percent against New York, which continues to lead the league with an opponent field goal percentage of 36.0.
- Tanisha Wright dished out seven assists, the most for a Liberty player this season.
- After committing a season-high 26 turnovers at Tulsa on Friday, New York turned the ball over a season-low nine times on Sunday.
- New York improved to 5-0 when holding a lead entering the fourth quarter.
CARRY ON CAROLYN
Carolyn Swords has quietly made integral contributions for the Liberty off the bench this season and leads the league with a .609 field goal percentage. On June 21 at Atlanta, she scored a season high 12 points for the second time, leading all scorers with 10 in the first half. She also played a season high 27 minutes at Atlanta, 10 more than her highest minute total prior. Swords’ presence is also being felt on the defensive end, she swatted a career-best five shots at Atlanta, and ranks ninth the league, averaging1.3 blocks per game.
LIVING UP TO HER REPUTATION – WELCOME TO HER BLOCK PARTY
Rookie Kiah Stokes came into the league known as an outstanding shot blocker, and early in her pro career she is living up to that reputation. Against LA, she had three blocks, including one with 4 minutes to go in the game which led directly to a fast break layup, and put the Liberty up by a commanding five points. She had a season high four blocks at Tulsa on June 26. She has now recorded at least one block in seven out of nine games this season. She blocked two shots against Phoenix on 6/11, swatted three shots in the game vs. Indiana on 6/9, recorded two blocks at Washington 6/6 and three in her rookie debut vs. Atlanta on 6/5. She is fourth in the WNBA with 2.0 blocks per game, and fourth in the league with 18 overall. With Stokes holding down the interior, New York ranks third in the league, averaging 5.56 blocks per game.