The month of July has been a momentous one for the Liberty, both as a team and for individual players. All-Star Tina Charles, Swin Cash and Tanisha Wright all hit career milestones, while the team excelled on the basketball court, winning six of eight games in the month of July. The midway point has been reached, and with the second half of the season just beginning, take a look back at how the Liberty got to August.
The Liberty had a record breaking July, literally. They rode a five game win streak into the All-Star break before falling to Indiana in the first game back on July 29 and have won 6 of their last 8, in a stretch that has included a 3-game sweep of west coast opponents, a comeback victory over Connecticut and an overtime win at Washington on July 9th, a team that New York had not beaten all season. The Liberty propelled its record to 12-5, the best since 2001 when the squad started at 16-5. The five-game winning streak was its first since 2010.
Tina Charles had a monumental month of July. On July 9th, she eclipsed the 3,000 point mark in her career, becoming the 10th fastest player to reach this milestone. On July 14th, she was voted by the fans to be a starter for the Eastern Conference in the WNBA All-Star game. Charles faired well. On Saturday July 25th, she played with her fellow Eastern Conference All-Stars for a packed crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena. She scored 13 points in the first half to lead all scorers, and finished with those 13 and four rebounds. Overall, she called the experience “a blessing” and loved spending time with WNBA players she does not see too often throughout the season. Throughout the five game win streak, Charles was averaging a double-double with 19.6 points per game and 10.2 rebounds.
Epiphanny Prince made her Liberty debut on July 9th at Washington and has kept her foot on the gas ever since . She has scored in double figures in all of her eight games with the Liberty, as is averaging 13.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists in that span. In a come from behind win at Phoenix on July 18th, she hit the go ahead jumper in the paint with 30.2 remaining, then the game-winning free throws with just 1.7 on the clock en route to a season-high 17 points. She scored 17 points for the second time in the loss to Indiana on July 29.
On July 16th, Kiah Stokes recorded a franchise record in a single game with eight blocked shots, including 3 in the last two minutes in a win against the Connecticut Sun. Overall, Stokes ranks 2nd in blocked shots with 2.4 per game, and 1st in the WNBA with 44 overall. In the month of July, Stokes recorded 24 blocks, four more than her 20 in the month of June with two less games of play.
Swin Cash and Tanisha Wright, both in their 14th and 10th WNBA seasons, respectively, are known, by themselves and by their teammates as the veterans of this New York team. They have earned this title.
On July 22, both of the Liberty’s veterans had milestone nights. Swin Cash climbed up a spot on both the all-time points list, passing Sheryl Swoopes for 14th all time in points scored with 4,879. She also jumped over Becky Hammon for 10th all time in minutes played with 12,553. Wright actually hopped over Cash in all time assists for the 14th spot with 1,065, tallying five in the matchup at Seattle on the same night. Earlier in the month, Cash also jumped up the games played charts, passing Tully Bevilaqua for 8th all time, and needs seven more games to move into 7th place.
The Liberty hosted a record 18,617 fans for Camp Day against the San Antonio Stars on Wednesday, July 15th. It was the largest crowd for a New York Liberty game since 2002.