By Arden Franklyn
The New York Liberty are in midst of a difficult summer schedule, but returned home to Madison Square Garden to face the Indiana Fever. The result eventually became a 81-76 Liberty win. New York has spent much of the past month and a half on a road, with a 12-day road trip, followed by just a week at home, then the All-Star Break and another two weeks away. Down the stretch, New York has 6-of-10 at The Garden to close out the regular season. Here are some takeaways from Tuesday’s game.
1. Zellous’ aggressiveness pays off
Guard Shavonte Zellous has become a critical part in the Liberty’s offense this season. Her ability to excel in various offensive situations while also being aggressive, adds another challenge for the opposition to counter. But what has been common in her struggles and success, are her free throw attempts. Zellous in the month of June had at least five games, where she took an average of seven free throws per game. In the Liberty’s 11 games since June, and prior to Tuesday, Zellous was held to one game where she took over seven free throws. That changed against the Fever, as she made 10 out of 11 from the stripe. A very big part of her success in scoring 16 points.
2. All around performance from Tina Charles
While it’s known that Tina Charles has a versatile skill-set and it’s displayed on a regular basis, it can be a special treat for Liberty fans to witness everything come together. Against the Fever, Charles had 26 Points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. This is actually the former WNBA MVP’s third game of the season where she produced at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, and she led the team in assists Tuesday, including a critical dime to Kiah Stokes late in the 4th quarter.
3. Grand Opening, Grand Closing
It’s common for a lot of teams to be different at home then on the road, but Tuesday night showed how well the Liberty can defend Madison Square Garden. Besides getting off to a 14 point lead in the first half, the team became 7-0 at home when entering the final quarter with a lead. Even with the Fever making a comeback and eventually taking the lead, the Liberty stormed back and closed the game, most notably because of Epiphany Prince’s clutch shooting late, and converting 9-of-10 at the line over the final :43.