NEW YORK LIBERTY (5-3) vs. SEATTLE STORM (5-3)
Sunday, June 11 • New York, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden) • 3:00 PM (ET)
Winners of 3-straight, the New York Liberty will close out a 5-game home stand, its longest of the season, when it hosts the Seattle Storm at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon at 3 PM. The Liberty will be looking to avenge an 87-81 loss suffered to the Storm back on May 26 at KeyArena, and also maintain its momentum before hitting the road for two-straight next week. Seattle is coming off an 83-80 loss at Indiana on Friday night.
• The Liberty picked up a 2nd straight wire-to-wire victory and 3rd-straight win overall, defeating the Atlanta Dream 76-61 on School Day Wednesday afternoon at The Garden. Tina Charles registered a 18 point, 15 rebound double-double, while Sugar Rodgers added 16 for the Liberty. Center Kiah Stokes hauled in a career-best 17 rebounds, surging up to 5th in the league with 8.8 rpg.
• In the win over Atlanta, Kiah Stokes (17) and Tina Charles (15) became just the 4th duo in WNBA history to record at least 15 rebounds in a game, and just the 2nd to do so in a non-overtime contest. They are tied for 5th in the WNBA averaging 8.8 rpg, while the Liberty leads the league in defensive rebounding percentage (.762) and total rebounds per game (38.3).
• Sunday’s game against Seattle will close out a 5-game home stand for the Liberty, its longest of the season. New York is 3-1 during this stretch of games at The Garden and is 3-0 since Epiphanny Prince and Kia Vaughn left to compete in the EuroBasket Women tournament in the Czech Republic.
• New York has not trailed in either of its last two games, failing to give up the lead in consecutive matchups for just the 4th time in franchise history and the 1st since 1999.
A pair of UConn greats in Tina Charles and Breanna Stewart go head-to-head once again as New York hosts Seattle at The Garden. Charles has played well against Seattle during her career, scoring 28 points with 9 rebounds when these teams met last month, while Stewart had 20 points and 12 rebounds, sinking 3 3-pointers. Both players have been improving as the season has progressed, with Charles averaging 24.6 ppg over the past 5 games, and Stewart is putting up 18.2 ppg, the best rate on Seattle, in their last 5 contests.
Rookie Sami Whitcomb came off the bench to score 22 points in the 2nd half, shooting 6-of-8 from 3-point range to lead Seattle to a come-from-behind 87-81 victory over the Liberty at KeyArena. Charles paced New York with 28 points, while Sugar Rodgers scored 21 and Epiphanny Prince had 19. New York led 81-78 in the 4th quarter, but the Storm closed on a 9-0 run to secure a win.
LIBERTY RE-SIGNS AMERYST ALSTON
On Friday, June 9, the Liberty re-signed guard Ameryst Alston and waived point guard Chelsea Hopkins. Alston, whom the Liberty drafted in the 2nd Round (24th Overall) of the 2016 WNBA Draft, appeared in one game during her rookie season. She was with the Liberty for its 2017 Training Camp, appearing in 3 preseason games and averaging 3.3 ppg. At Ohio State University, Alston graduated ranked 4th in program history, scoring 2,165 points, was a 3-time First-Team All-Big Ten Selection, and an Honorable Mention AP All-American.
The Liberty has not trailed even for a second in its most recent two victories against the Phoenix Mercury and Atlanta Dream, picking up a pair or wire-to-wire victories. It marks just the 4th time in franchise history, and the 1st since the 1999 season that the Liberty has never trailed in consecutive contests.
QUEENS OF THE GLASS
On June 7, the Liberty picked up a 76-61 win over the Atlanta Dream, limiting Atlanta to just 27.6 percent shooting from the field. As a result there were a lot of rebounds to clean up, and Tina Charles and Kiah Stokes proved up to the task. Stokes (17) and Charles (15) each hauled in at least 15 rebounds, becoming just the 4th duo in the history of the WNBA to have at least 15+ rebounds in the same game, and only the second to do so in a non-overtime contest, or in a victory. Their 32 rebounds combined were just three fewer than Atlanta’s team rebound tally (35).
Center Kiah Stokes is in the midst of the best rebounding stretch of her career, setting a new career-high in rebounding twice over the past three games, 15 boards in a win over Dallas on June 2, and 17 rebounds against Atlanta on June 7. Over that Stretch she is averaging 15.3 rpg and has surged up to 5th in the league, tied with Tina Charles at 8.8 rpg, which makes them the top rebounding due in the WNBA. Additionally Stokes reached double-digit rebounds in 3-straight games for the 1st time in her career. She finished her rookie campaign ranked 11th in rebounding (6.4 rpg), and the 2016 season ranked 7th in the league (7.4 rpg).