NEW YORK LIBERTY (0-0) at CHICAGO SKY (1-0)
Sunday, May 20 • Chicago, Illinois. (Wintrust Arena) • 7:00 PM (ET)
TV: TWITTER, THE U TOO, MSG+
The New York Liberty tip-off its 23rd season at the Chicago Sky. Tina Charles headlines the Liberty’s roster as she enters her ninth season in the league. Head coach Katie Smith begins her first year at the helm of New York after several seasons serving as assistant and associate head coach in the Empire State.
The Liberty returns a bulk of its roster from a season ago headlined by Tina Charles. The centerpiece is coming off of her eighth season in the league where she was named First Team All-WNBA and runner-up in the WNBA Most Valuable Player race.
Kia Nurse (2018 first-round pick, 10thoverall) is the lone rookie on the squad and she will look to earn minutes against an otherwise experienced backcourt. New York’s guard play also features 2017 Sixth Woman of the Year Sugar Rodgers, Epiphanny Prince, Bria Hartley, Rebecca Allen and Brittany Boyd.
For the past two seasons, Rodgers has averaged double-figure point totals draining .380 of her looks from deep. Prince (12.0 pts, 2.89 asts) and Hartley (7.3 pts, 2.05 asts) will compete in their fourth and second respective Liberty seasons. Rebecca Allen contributed 2.8 ppg last year.
Kia Nurse (14.5 ppg) and Marissa Coleman (14.0 ppg) led the Liberty in the preseason as the team splits its pair of appearances.
Guard Allie Quigley leads the Sky with 19 ppg with rookie guard Diamond DeShields averaging 18 ppg with Chicago having one 2018 matchup under its belt already. Charles finished the season ranked 3rd in the WNBA in scoring, 4th in rebounding, and 6th in minutes (32.2 mpg).
Tina Charles scored 22 points and New York cruised to a 92-62 win over the Chicago Sky on Sunday for the Liberty’s eighth consecutive victory on Sunday, August 27, 2017. The win clinched at least the four-seed in the playoffs for New York (20-12), giving the team a first-round postseason bye. The Liberty are a half-game behind Connecticut for the third seed. Charles had 18 points in the first half as New York jumped out to a 46-29 advantage at the break. The Liberty wouldn’t let the Sky get within 15 in the second half. Stefanie Dolson scored 22 points to lead Chicago (12-19), which moved closer to being eliminated from the playoff chase.
KEEPING THE CONTINUITY
22 total players participated in New York’s training camp which ranged from eight to nine-year veterans, 2018 draft picks, free agents and those monitoring lingering injuries. However, the Liberty secured 10 returners and added two additions by the league’s deadline for final rosters. Due to Kia Vaughn’s international club play, Mercedes Russell will proxy her absence.
“I want them to go out and play hard. I want them to have confidence. I want us to take care of each other on both ends of the floor. I think we can get what we need to get done if we are locked in, all engaged and have that awareness. There’s going to be a lot of excitement but once we’re in-game, we still need to play with a lot of energy and that competitive spirit from start to finish. No matter who is on the floor, we’re supporting each other.”