NEW YORK, N.Y. – JULY 5, 2016 – The New York Liberty returns to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, when it will host Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm in a star-studded affair at 7 p.m.
New York is coming off its third three-game road trip of the season, having posted a pair of wins on its Western Conference Swing, while the Storm are playing a back-to-back, competing at Atlanta on Tuesday.
In the first meeting between these two teams, New York held on down the stretch in the fourth quarter to pick up an 86-78 win in Seattle. Tina Charles led the way for the Liberty, posting a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
• The Liberty fell to the Los Angeles Sparks 77-67 on Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center, seeing its six-game road winning streak come to an end. Tina Charles led the way for the Libs, finishing with 27 points and nine rebounds, while Sugar Rodgers nailed four 3-pointers to score 14 points. After the Liberty managed to take a 3-point lead in the third quarter, the Sparks responded with an 11-4 run and held onto the lead the rest of the way.
• New York had three different three-game road trips over the first half of the season, going 7-2 in those games, but will play back-to-back road games just once more in 2016 (its first two games after the Olympic Break, at San Antonio and Indiana).
• After missing last week’s win at Minnesota, Tina Charles returned to score 31 in a win at Phoenix on Friday, and recorded 27 points at Los Angeles on Sunday. She has scored at least 21 points in the last nine games, which is tied for the fourth-longest streak in WNBA history. The record is 13-straight games.
• When New York defeated Seattle 86-78 on June 5, it was able to lock in defensively on Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart, limiting the pair to just 11 points on 4-of-20 shooting from the field. Loyd was held without a field goal, despite entering the game ranked third in the WNBA averaging 20.3 ppg.
PLAYER TO WATCH
After the block she made in the waning moments of the first meeting of college teammate Breanna Stewart, a play that landed her at No. 3 on that night’s Sports Center Top-10, all eyes will be on Kiah Stokes for the rematch.
Stokes has been playing at a high level all season, as she competes to be considered for Defensive Player and Sixth Woman of the Year. Stokes is second in the league shooting .679 from the field, and is fourth in blocked shots (1.9 bpg) and sixth in rebounding (8.1 rpg). In the first meeting with Seattle she had seven points, seven rebounds, and three blocks.
Tina Charles eclipsed 3,000-career points last season, becoming the 10th fastest player in WNBA history to do so. She is steadily climbing the all-time charts for points and rebounds, as she is currently ranked 33rd all-time in scoring, with 3,805 points, and 13th in rebounding, pulling down 2,185 boards. Her career rebounding average of 10.2 per game is the best per game rate in the history of the league.
So far this season New York has demonstrated the importance of getting off to a strong start and the Liberty is 9-1 when leading after the first quarter and at halftime. New York is a perfect 6-0 when grabbing a lead through 10 minutes of action in road contests.