NEW YORK LIBERTY (2-4) vs. INDIANA FEVER (0-7)
Sunday, June 10 • White Plains, NY (Westchester County Center) • 3:00 PM (ET)
TV: League Pass, MSG
The New York Liberty fell in waning time against the Connecticut Sun after controlling the league’s top contender for a majority of Thursday night at home. Having dropped two straight, the Liberty will look to turn their fortunes around against the winless Indiana Fever, which they have already defeated once this season.
Tina Charles leads the league in scoring with 23.8 ppg (as of 6/9).
Charles’ 8.8 rebounds per game are good for fourth in the league, and the forward has notched a double-double in half of her games this season.
Kia Nurse’s 15.3 ppg ranks 18th in the league and third among rookies
Nurse is shooting 96.3% from the charity stripe, the third best mark in the league (as of 6/9).
Bria Hartley is fifth in the league with 4.8 assists per game (as of 6/9).
New York is the best in the league at offensive rebounding, bringing down 10.5 per game (as of 6/9).
The Liberty and the Fever are two of the best teams in the league at protecting the ball. Indiana averages 12.4 turnovers a contest, while New York averages 13.3 per game, the best and third-best marks in the WNBA.
Marissa Coleman spent the previous four seasons in a Fever uniform, two of them alongside Shavonte Zellous.
The first matchup between these two teams was shaped by a battle between two rookies— New York’s Kia Nurse scored a game-high 34, while Indiana’s Kelsey Mitchell paced her team with 26. On the season, Mitchell’s 19.4 points per game lead her team, while ranking eighth in the league and second among rookies. Nurse is second on the Liberty in scoring with 15.3 per contest, good for 18th in the league and third among first year players.
On June 2, 2018, Kia Nurse had a record-setting day for the New York Liberty in a thrilling 87-81 overtime win against the Indiana Fever. The victory marked the team’s first road win of the season.
Nurse’s 34 points were the most all-time by a Liberty rookie or a Liberty reserve. She went 15 of 16 from the charity stripe and added nine rebounds.
Tina Charles contributed 23 points and 10 rebounds towards the Liberty’s cause, while rookie Kelsey Mitchell led the Fever with 26 points.
AN MVP-CALIBER START
With every game, Tina Charles continues to add to her incredible start to the 2018 season. The forward scored 24 points in the loss to Connecticut, to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. She has yet to score less than 18 points in a game this season, and she has notched a double-double in half of her appearances.
PENCHANT FOR DRAMA
Thursday’s contest against Connecticut marked yet another nail-biting finish for the Liberty, who have seen every one of their matchups this season settled by single digits. Their four losses have been by a combined 15 points. New York’s last matchup against Indiana required extra time, one of just two overtime games in the WNBA this season.
A WELL-ROUNDED EFFORT
Despite the tough loss to Connecticut, the game saw positive performances from a variety of players. Charles, Nurse, Coleman, and Shavonte Zellous all reached double figures, while Bria Hartley and Kia Vaughn were not far behind with nine and eight points, respectively. Vaughn’s eight points tabbed a season-high.
HELP FROM THE SECOND UNIT
Kia Nurse and her 15.3 points per game have spearheaded a solid bench attack for the Liberty this season. New York reserves have averaged 26.7 points per game, and the loss to Connecticut was the first time this season they’ve been outscored by an opponent’s bench.
COACH’S CORNER on Indiana
“We just played them (Indiana) and that was somewhat of a trap game in a sense. You look at their record and assume it’s going to be easy and we almost got our tails beat. Hopefully, our mentality of understanding is that they are a scary team. They can put up points pretty easily and quickly if you let them get rolling. I think the way we played out there and finished that game, started off well and finished a little slower. They ratcheted up their pressure to put us in a bind and we barely got out of there with a win. I think that is still in the back of our heads and I hope we come out trying to prove something.”
The New York Liberty will celebrate its 8th annual Pride Night Sunday.
A year after the Liberty became the first professional sports team to have a float in the New York City Pride March, the team will continue this tradition in Westchester County.
“I think we have a platform where we can speak about issues that are important to us,” veteran guard Shavonte Zellous explained a season ago. “We can show up and come out and help people. That’s important.”
The year’s Pride Night will feature the White Plains based organization LOFT: LGBT Community Center. The Liberty participated in last week’s 2018 LOFT Pride event and will continue to enhance its partnership with the esteemed organization by hosting a pregame panel at Westchester County Center on Sunday. With a history rooted in the early 1980s, the LOFT has grown over decades of expansion, bringing great momentum for LGBT rights and advocating for reform.
For the third year in a row, the Liberty will also host the inclusive NOH8 Campaign and offer a chance for fans at Westchester County Center to take part in its widely recognized photo campaign. The Timeless Torches will also be in attendance and will grace the hardwood with a performance commemorating the event.