Charles and Rodgers Power Liberty Past Wings

NEW YORK, N.Y. – MAY 15, 2016 – Behind 24 points from both Tina Charles and Sugar Rodgers, the New York Liberty held off the Dallas Wings to pick up a 79-71 win in its 2016 home opener at Madison Square Garden on Sunday evening.

The 24 points was a career-high for Rodgers, who also nailed a career-best six 3-pointers during her impressive offensive evening. She had 19 in the season opener on Saturday night and is now averaging 21.5 ppg over the first two games of the season. It was just her fourth-career 20-point performance.

As for Charles, she posted a double-double for the second time in as many nights, hauling in 11 rebounds. It was career-double No. 111 for Charles, who played in her 200th-career game on Sunday.

The Liberty improve to 2-0 for the first time since the 2011 season and snapped a two-game losing streak to the Wings franchise, having lost both contests to the then Tulsa Shock last season.

New York surged to a huge lead in the first quarter, with Charles scoring the first eight points of the game to power an 11-0 start for the Liberty. That advantage reached as high as 19-3 in the opening period, but slowly the Wings chipped away, eventually knotting things up at 43-43 early in the third.

The next five points were scored by the Liberty, all at the free throw line, and New York led the rest of the way. New York built its advantage back to 75-60 in the fourth, as Shavonte Zellous capped off a 7-0 run with a five-footer in the paint. For Zellous, she surpassed 2,000 career points in the win, and now has 2,007 after netting eight on Sunday.

It was an entertainment filled opening night for New York, which saw the female leads of the smash hit Hamilton sing the national anthem prior to tipoff, and Montell Jordan performed on court during halftime.

Recently acquired center Amanda Zahui B., who just joined New York on Thursday morning, posted 10 points in 13 minutes to make it three players in double figures. Shoni Schimmel scored her first basket as a member of the Liberty, stroking a 3-pointer in the first half.

New York returns to action on Saturday, May 21, when it hosts the Los Angeles Sparks at Madison Square Garden. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.