ROSEMONT, ILL. – SEPT. 15, 2016 – The New York Liberty will close out the 2016 regular season at the Chicago Sky on Friday night in Rosemont, Ill., at 8:30 PM (ET) on MSG Network.
The Liberty has had the No. 3 seed in the WNBA Playoffs secured for more than a week, and the bye into the 2nd Round that comes with it, but New York is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time since May 31, and looking for a solid finish before that single elimination playoff game at The Garden next Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Chicago has two games remaining on its slate, and is fighting to stay in that No. 4 spot which comes with the other coveted bye into the 2nd Round. Both teams figure to be without their top offensive weapons, as Tina Charles will not travel to Chicago in order to rest after posting the most points and rebounds in the league this season. Elena Delle Donne underwent thumb surgery on Tuesday and is out indefinitely, with no timetable for her return to action.
New York won both meetings against the Sky earlier this season, including an 88-85 decision at Chicago on July 8, during which Charles finished with 29 points and nine rebounds.
• The Liberty was unable to completely come back from an early double-digit deficit against the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night at The Garden, falling 75-62 in its regular season home finale. Tina Charles led the way for New York, posting her WNBA-best 20th double-double of the season with 22 points and 11 rebounds. The Liberty has lost back-to-back games for the first time since May 31.
• Tina Charles is likely to become just the third player in WNBA history to lead the league in scoring and rebounding. Heading into the final days of the regular season Charles ranks first in scoring with 21.5 ppg and first in rebounding with 9.9 ppg. Only Chamique Holdsclaw (2002) and Lauren Jackson (2007) have accomplished the rare feat.
• The New York Liberty has never had a player lead the league in scoring or rebounding and Charles is primed to do both in 2016. It would be the 4th time in her career Charles led the league in rebounding, after she did so in each of her first three professional seasons (2010-12) winning Rookie of the Year in 2010 and Most Valuable Player in 2012.
• Point guard Brittany Boyd has vaulted up to 3rd in the WNBA averaging 1.6 steals per game. She has three steals in 4-straight games and in 7 of her last 10 games played.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Can Brittany Boyd keep her assist and steal streak alive? It addition to her stretch of games with at least three steals, she has had six or more assists in six-straight games, which has helped her vault up to 17th in the league in assists.
Boyd has been in the starting linup since Sept. 1 at Indiana, and has responded by running the Liberty offense efficiently. She missed last season’s postseason run due to a wrist injury, so this is her final warmup before tackling the WNBA playoffs for the first time.
New York is looking to lead the WNBA in defensive field goal percentage for a 2nd-straight season, heading into Friday ranked first in the league allowing opponents to shoot just .411 from the field.
The Liberty’s interior defense is perhaps the biggest reason why the team is primed to lead the league in opponent shooting percentage once again. Teams are shooting just .508 against New York on attempts inside of five feet.