ROSEMONT, ILL. – JUNE 30, 2015 – Behind a season-high 26 points from center Tina Charles and red-hot shooting from 3-point range, the Liberty beat Chicago 89-81 on Tuesday night.
Charles posted season double-double No. 4 and the 101st of her career as she also pulled down 11 rebounds for the Liberty.
She was one of five players to score in double figures for New York, which scored a season-high 89 points while drilling nine shots from 3-point range.
It was Candice Wiggins leading the way from downtown, as she was a blistering 5-for-5 to compile a season-best 15 points. Sugar Rodgers, who scored in double figures for the sixth-straight game, nailed three threes to finish with 11, and Kiah Stokes recorded her first-career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
After leading by 12 points at the half, New York had to withstand several big runs from Chicago over the final 20 minutes, but was able to answer every time.
The Sky nearly couldn’t miss to start the second half, hitting 9-of-11 to pull within two points on a Courtney Vandersloot 20-footer at 4:23, but Tanisha Wright responded on the other end, burying a three to spark a 13-3 New York run to end the third.
The lead would swell to 15 as Wiggins connected from three once again, making it 76-61 on New York’s first offensive possession of the fourth quarter.
Chicago steadily chipped away, pulling within two possessions on an Elena Delle Donne floater at 2:48, only to see Rodgers come up with the dagger 25 seconds later, a triple to push the advantage back to nine points.
Delle Donne, who has been putting up historic scoring numbers to start the season, finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds, but was slightly below her league-leading season average of 29.0 ppg.
New York, which entered the game leading the WNBA in opponent field goal percentage at 36.0 percent, held the Sky to just 39.4 percent from the field, the eighth Liberty foe that failed to break the 40.0 percent shooting threshold this year.
It was thanks to Charles the Liberty were able to keep pace with Chicago in the first quarter, as she dominated the game from the start, hitting her first three shots from the field and scoring 13 first-quarter points as the Liberty took a 27-25 lead while shooting 57 percent (12-of-21) from the field.
New York scored the first nine points of the second quarter, capped off by a Wiggins 3-pointer from the left side to push the lead up to 36-25.
The Sky would close to within 39-33 as Delle Donne sank a pair of free throws with 2:40 remaining, but New York ended the half with a 9-3 spurt that featured a Charles 3-point play and another corner trey for Wiggins.
New York held Chicago to just 28.9 percent shooting through 20 minutes of action and outscored Chicago 24-10 in the paint while holding a dominant 26-14 edge on the glass.
New York returns to action on Thursday, July 9, when it heads down to Washington, D.C., to face the Washington Mystics at 11:30 a.m.
New York Liberty Postgame Notes
- New York had five players score in double figures for the first time this season and scored a season-high 89 points.
- The win snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Sky, and was the first for New York over Chicago since August 21, 2012.
- The Liberty continued its dominance in the paint, outscoring the Sky 34-28 in the interior.
- New York drilled a season-high nine 3-pointers and outscored a team from 3-point range (27-15) for the first time this season.
- Tina Charles (26 points, 11 rebounds) and Kiah Stokes (11 points, 10 rebounds) made it two Liberty players with a double-double for the first time this year. It was the first-career double-double for Stokes and the fourth of the season for Charles.
- The Liberty had 26 assists on 30 made baskets, led by Essence Carson who had a season-best seven assists.
- New York’s bench outscored Chicago’s 34-7 and the Liberty had two bench players (Wiggins, Stokes) score in double figures.