NEW YORK LIBERTY (10-9) at MINNESOTA LYNX (16-2)
Tuesday, July 25 • St. Paul, Minn. (Xcel Energy Center) • 8:00 PM (ET)
The New York Liberty will open a 5-game road trip agains the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday, July 25, on ESPN2 at 8 PM (ET). The Liberty is coming off back-to-back home wins, but will hit the road for its longest road swing since the 2012 season. It is the 2nd of 3 meetings this season between the Liberty and Lynx, with Minnesota taking the 1st game, 90-71, back on May 18. They will play again at Madison Square Garden on August 20.
• The New York Liberty strung together back-to-back wins for the 1st time since June 11 picking up a 96-80 victory over the Connecticut Sun on July 19 at Madison Square Garden. Tina Charles dominated for the Liberty, finishing with 28 points and 17 rebounds, while Shavonte Zellous (16) and Bria Hartley (10) also scored in double figures. With the win, New York closed out a 3-game home stretch with a 2-1 record.
• New York comes out of the All-Star Break with a 5-game road trip, its longest road trip for the Liberty since a 5-game stretch in August 2012.
• Tina Charles and Sugar Rodgers represented the New York Liberty at WNBA All-Star 2017 in Seattle on July 22. Charles, who started for the Eastern Conference, finishing with 8 points and 2 rebounds, nailing a pair of 3-pointers, while Rodgers scored 10 points, also connecting twice from downtown.
• Sugar Rodgers was the runner-up in the 3-point contest at the 2017 WNBA All-Star game in Seattle. She electrified the crowd by hitting her 1st 8 3-point attempts in the opening round, and 9 of her 1st 10, to finish with 22 points which led all competitors in the 1st round. Allie Quigley took the title with 27 points in the championship round.
Two of the leading candidates for Most Valuable Player will matchup in the post in Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles. Charles has been on a tear as of late, and has moved up to 2nd in the WNBA in both scoring (20.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.9 rpg). Fowles, who has been dominant all year for the Lynx, is 4th in scoring (20.1 ppg) and 3rd in rebounding (9.8 rpg), and shooting 67.1 percent from the field, enjoying one of the most impressive seasons of her career.
Minnesota built on a 3-point halftime cushion by posting 27 points in the 3rd quarter to pick up a 90-71 win over the Liberty back on May 18 at Madison Square Garden. Tina Charles, who was battling a flu, scored 6 points on 2-of-9 shooting, while Sugar Rodgers poured in 20 with 4 3-pointers. All 5 starters finished in double figures for the Lynx, led by Maya Moore, who filled up the stat sheet with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Tina Charles has been performing at an exceptionally high level over the previous 6 games as she has moved up to 2nd in the league in both scoring (20.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.9 rpg), nearly averaging a double-double for the year. Over the last 6 games, she is averaging 22.7 ppg and 11.7 rpg, shooting, topping 20 points 5 times, with 3 double-doubles. Against Connecticut in July 19, she had a double-double in the 1st half and finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds. The only game over the last 6 that she failed to score 20 points came in an 85-55 win over Washington where she logged just 19 minutes.
LIFE ON THE ROAD
The New York Liberty open a 5-game road trip at Minnesota on Tuesday night, the Liberty’s longest road trip since the 2012 season. Earlier this year, New York had 4-straight road games, making this the 1st time since the 1998 season the Liberty had two road trips of this length in the same season. That year, the Liberty opened with 5-straight road games and had another 5-game road trip later in the season. While the Liberty are out of town, the band Phish will play 13-straight shows at Madison Square Garden for their Baker’s Dozen residency (July 21-August 6).
Forward Tina Charles and guard Sugar Rodgers starred for the Liberty at the 2017 WNBA All-Star Weekend in Seattle. Charles, who was voited as a frontcourt starter for the East squad, was making her 5th All-Star appearance, while Rodgers was selected for the 1st time in her career. Rodgers finished 2nd in the 3-Point Shooting contest at halftime, dazzling the crowd with 22 makes in the 1st round, including her 1st 8 shots and 9-of-10, en route to 22 1st round points to lead all 5 competitors. In the game, Charles finished with 8 points and 2 rebounds, hitting a pair of 3-pointers, while Rodgers scored 10 points, also nailing a pair of shots from downtown.
BENCH MOB: THE SEQUEL
Last season, New York had some of the best bench production in the league, ranking 4th in the WNBA with 28.3 bench points per game. Entering the game against Washington on July 16, the Liberty was last in the league, averaging just 14.8 ppg from its reserves. That changed with a 41 point effort from the 2nd unit, the most in any game this year for the Liberty. New York followed that up with 29 points from its bench, surpassing 20 bench points in consecutive games for the 1st time this season. The Liberty is now averaging 16.9 ppg from its reserves.
THE STARTING BLOCK
The Liberty was able to reverse a troubling trend in its 85-55 win over Washington on Sunday afternoon. Through the 1st 9 games of the season, New York excelled at getting off to hot starts, averaging 22.6 ppg in the opening period. Over the next 8 games, New York led after the opening period just once and saw its 1st half scoring drop by nearly 9 points per game. Against Washington, the Liberty erupted for a season-high 30 points in the opening quarter to take a commanding lead it never gave up, and was on top 45-29 at the half. Three days later, New York again got off to a strong start, posting 24 points in the 1st quarter against Connecticut, and 45 in the 1st half.