NEW YORK LIBERTY (12-11) at LOS ANGELES SPARKS (17-6)
Friday, Aug. 4 • Los Angeles, Calif. (Staples Center) • 10:30 PM (ET)
The New York Liberty will wrap up a 5-game road trip against the defending champion Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night at the Staples Center. The Liberty are 2-2 on the current road trip, and will look to bounce back from a loss at San Antonio on Tuesday night, while the Sparks have been off since beating Dallas at home last Sunday. LA has one 4-straight in the series, including the only meeting of this season, 90-75, back on May 30 at The Garden
• The Liberty had its 2-game road winning streak snapped with a 93-81 loss at San Antonio on Tuesday night. Bria Hartley (17 points) and Sugar Rodgers (16 points) paced the Liberty, but the Stars outscored New York 28-12 in the 4th quarter to pick up the win. The Liberty erased a 7-point halftime deficit with a 13-0 run to start the 3rd quarter, but was never able to extend the lead further than 7 points in the 2nd half.
• Tina Charles was named the WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for July, extending her league record for career Player of the Month accolades to 10. Charles led all East players in scoring last month with 22.2 ppg, and ranked 1st in the WNBA averaging 11.2 rpg.
• Bria Hartley matched her season-high of 17 points against San Antonio on Tuesday night. She hit her 1st 4 field goal attempts and went on to go 6-of-9 from the field with a pair of 3-pointers. Hartley also dished out a season-high 5 assists and led the Liberty in assists for the 1st time this season.
• Sugar Rodgers scored 16 points against the Stars, her highest scoring output since netting 19 in an overtime win at Dallas on June 16. Rodgers shot 4-of-8 from 3-point range, making it the 1st time this season she has hit at least 4 3-pointers in consecutive games.
Two candidates for WNBA Most Valuable Player in Tina Charles and Candace Parker will go head-to-head on Friday night. Charles ranks 3rd in the league in scoring (20.3 ppg) and 2nd in rebounding (9.9 rpg), while Parker is at 16.1 ppg and 8.5 apg, also dishing out 4.1 apg, and nearly 2 blocks per contest.
Tina Charles scored 25 points with a pair of 3-pointers and 5 rebounds, but both Nneka Ogwumike (22) and Candace Parker (20) topped 20 points as the Sparks picked up a 90-75 win back on May 30. The Liberty led 38-36 at the half, but saw LA pull away with a big 2nd half, including a 24-11 performance in the 4th quarter. New York turned the ball over 19 times, and LA took advantage of those extra opportunities, scoring 30 points off turnovers.
LIBERTY FACTS & FIGURES – KEY NUMBERS
The number of points that Tina Charles needs to move past Becky Hammon (2,367) for 3rd place in franchise history in scoring. Charles currently ranks 4th with 2,325 points.
New York shot a season-best 53.3 percent from 3-point range in the win over Chicago on July 30, sinking 8-of-15 from beyond the arc. The Liberty had not shot over 50.0 percent from three in a game this season.
New York dished out a season-high 26 assists against San Antonio on Aug. 1. It meant the Liberty recorded a season-high in assists in back-to-back games (25 @ Chicago on 7/30).
The Liberty is leading the WNBA in defensive field goal percentage at .409. New York has led the league in defensive shooting percentage in back-to-back seasons.
Tina Charles has posted a double-double in 55.3 percent of her career games played. She has 140 double-doubles in her career and leads the Liberty with 11 double-doubles this season.
New York erased a 15-point 2nd half deficit to come back in beat Indiana 85-84 on 7/28. It was the largest deficit overcome for a win this season, and the largest since digging out of a 15-point hold in the 4th quarter at Minnesota on 6/29/16.
CHARLES NAMED WNBA EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE MONTH
Tina Charles earned Eastern Conference Player of the Month honors for the WNBA-leading 10th time in her eight-year career, for games played in the month of July. New York went 5-4 in July behind Charles, who ranked first among East players in scoring (22.2 ppg) and led the WNBA in rebounding (11.2 rpg). In nine games, the 2012 WNBA MVP logged five double-doubles and scored at least 21 points seven times. She also tied for seventh in the East in blocked shots (1.0 bpg). Charles also became the 1st player in WNBA history to post 3 games with at least 15-plus rebounds in the same calendar month.
New York shot 8-of-15 (.533) from 3-point range in the win over Chicago on July 30, its 1st game shooting better than 50.0 percent from 3-point land this season. The Liberty ranks 6th in the WNBA shooting 33.7 percent from 3-point range in 2017. New York’s 3-point shooting has been on the upswing over the last 3 games, where the Liberty has shot 23-of-50 (.460), at clip of .421 or better in each game.
TO THE POINT
Bria Hartley has been performing at a high level since re-joining the starting lineup before the game against the Washington Mystics on July 16. Over the previous 6 games she has scored in double figures 4 times, twice matching her season-high of 17 points, ranking 2nd on the team averaging 11.5 ppg while shooting .510 from the field (25-of-49) and .480 from 3-point range (12-of-25). Against San Antonio on Tuesday night, she shot 6-of-9 from the field to post 17 points for the 2nd time in a 3-game span, and dished out a season-high 5 assists to lead the Liberty.
Sugar Rodgers broke out of a brief scoring drought with back-to-back impressive offensive games. At Chicago on July 30 she scored 14 points while shooting 4-of-7 from 3-point range and followed that up with 16 points at San Antonio on Aug. 1, her highest point total since scoring 19 in an overtime win at Dallas on June 19. Over the previous two games, Rodgers is averaging 15.0 ppg and shooting 8-of-15 (.533) from three.