INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – SEPTEMBER 12, 2015 – The New York Liberty will close out what has been an historic regular season for the franchise, with a matchup against the Indiana Fever on Sunday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
WATCH: MSG Network
NEW YORK GAME NOTES: CLICK HERE
ALL-TIME: Indiana leads, 38-22
2015 SEASON: Indiana, 3-1
LAST MEETING: IND 80, NYL 79 (August 23, 2015)
The game could potentially have some postseason implications, depending on the outcome of the Washington Mystics’ home finale against the Atlanta Dream earlier in the afternoon.
New York has already clinched home court throughout the WNBA Playoffs and will be the top overall seed in the East for the first time since 2002. The Liberty will face either Indiana or Washington when the Eastern Conference Semifinals officially get underway next Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Fever currently leads the Mystics by one game with one to play, but Washington won the season series between the two teams, thus holding the edge in the event of a tie in the standings, so their positions could switch on Sunday.
This will be the fifth meeting of the season between New York and Indiana, with the Fever taking three straight, most recently an 80-79 nail biter in Indianapolis back on August 23. In that game, Epiphanny Prince fired a last second attempt to steal a road win for the Liberty, but her long jumper drew back iron.
While it is important for New York to maintain its poise and head into the postseason on a high note, with home court locked up, it is expected no Liberty player will log too many minutes in the final game of the regular season.
However, with the Fever representing a potential playoff foe, there will still be areas for the Liberty to address, with the possibility of moving towards a three-game series next week.
Indiana’s offense has been particularly effective against New York, with the Fever averaging 80.8 ppg and shooting 43.4 percent from the field. Compare that to the league average against the Liberty, which is just 39.3 percent shooting and 70.8 ppg.
It is the three ball that has worked the most for the Fever, which is averaging 7.8 3-pointers per game against New York, while shooting 44.9 percent from long distance. Maggie Lucas has knocked down nine of those 3-pointers, but Shenise Johnson (6) and All-Star Marissa Coleman (6) have also found success from long range against the Liberty.
New York will also be looking to shore up a defensive effort that has not been as stifling over the last three weeks of the season. Over the previous eight contests, the Liberty’s foes are shooting nearly 50 points higher overall, 43.2 percent.
NEW YORK ANNOUNCES FIRST ROUND PLAYOFF DATES
The Liberty has announced the dates for its 2015 WNBA Playoffs First Round games, and it will open postseason play at Madison Square Garden on Friday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. Game two on the road will be on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 20, at 1 p.m., and a third game if necessary will be back at The Garden on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
FIRST ROUND PLAYOFF FOE STILL TBD
Heading into the last day of the regular season, six of the WNBA’s eight playoff seeds have been determined, but third and fourth place in the Eastern Conference has yet to be decided. Indiana leads Washington by one game with one to play, but the Mystics hold the tiebreaker thanks to a 3-2 advantage over the Fever this season. Washington hosts the Atlanta Dream in its season finale on Sunday afternoon.
LIBERTY CLINCHES HOME COURT THROUGHOUT WNBA PLAYOFFS
With its 74-64 win over the Connecticut Sun on Sept. 9, the Liberty clinched home court advantage throughout the WNBA Playoffs for the first time in franchise history. New York had already secured the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 2002, but is now the first squad from the East to post the best record in the league since Detroit, led by Bill Laimbeer, did so in 2007. Additionally, the 23 regular season wins represent a new franchise record, surpassing the previous mark of 22, set in 2010, which was also the last time a WNBA Playoff game was played at The Garden. New York went 12-5 on its home court during the regular season.
LIBERTY SEASON HEADLINES
- New York will enter the WNBA Playoffs as the top overall seed for the first time in franchise history.
- New York currently sits at 23-10 overall, posting the most regular season wins in franchise history, passing the previous mark of 22.
- The Liberty needed just 22 games to surpass its win total (15) from a year ago.
- The Liberty has clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 2002.
- The Liberty posted a five-game winning streak during the month of July, its longest stretch of consecutive wins since 2010.
- The 2010 season was also the last time New York won three-straight games on the road.
- New York swept the season series with Phoenix for the first time since 2012, both games from Los Angeles for the first time since 2010, and went 2-0 against Minnesota for the first time since 2007.
- The Liberty is 10-2 against the Western Conference this season.
- New York is 12-5 at Madison Square Garden and owns the league’s best road record at 11-5.
LAST TIME OUT – WASHINGTON 82, NEW YORK 55
- Washington won the season series with New York 3-1.
- Avery Warley-Talbert scored a career-high 12 points and led the Liberty in scoring for the first time this season.
- Epiphanny Prince finished with 9 points, failing to scored in double figures for just the second time in 23 games.
- The Mystics outrebounded New York 38-29 and points in the paint were tied 22-22.
- In her second game with New York, Erica Wheeler scored 10 points.
- Washington’s 12 3-point field goals were the most against New York this season and the most since Tulsa hit 10 back on June 26.
- New York finished the regular season with a 12-5 record at Madison Square Garden.
NOT TAKING THE CHARITY
New York shot 12-for-12 from the free throw line in its loss to Washington on Sept. 11, but those 12 attempts are the most for the team over the last three games. All season long, the Liberty has been one of the best teams in the league at getting to the line, averaging 19.9 attempts per game, but that number is down to just 10.3 over the last three games. In the 24 games prior to this stretch, New York had attempted fewer than 14 free throws just once.
New York leads the WNBA in defensive field goal percentage (.393) and points allowed per game (70.8), but over the last eight games the Liberty has not demonstrated the same defensive consistency it did through the start of the season. New York has held just two of its last eight opponents under 40.0 percent from the field, and teams are shooting 43.2 percent and averaging 73.5 ppg during that stretch.