NEW YORK – AUGUST 2, 2015 – The third quarter was a charm for the New York Liberty today as the team stormed out of the locker room on a 13-0 run in the first 4 minutes of the period en route to a 78-62 win over the Seattle Storm on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. With the win the Liberty improved to 13-6 overall and maintained sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Epiphanny Prince had five of those points, splashing a three at the 7:16 mark, then 30 seconds later pulling up for a long jumper to extend the lead to 12. Prince had all of her 11 points in the second half, nine of those in the third quarter to lead the charge. All-Star center TinaCharles hit a sweet hook shot, splashing it off the glass to the get the crowd on their feet and cap off the run at the 6:05 mark.
Essence Carson extended the Liberty lead to 16 points on a midrange jumper on the assists from Candice Wiggins with 2:30 to play. Carson was on the money today with 11 points of 5-of-8 shooting from the field. One minute later, Wiggins was on the receiving end, splashing a three from the corner on the dish from Brittany Boyd.
The Liberty limited the Storm (5-16) to only three made shots in the 3rd quarter, in the form of a pair of three pointers from Sue Bird and another triple from Abbey Bishop. That equated to just 9 Storm points, tying a season low for Liberty opponents in the third quarter set by Tulsa on June 26. New York led 60-44 with 10 minutes left to play.
In the fourth, the Storm would cut the Liberty advantage down to eight with 8:30 remaining, but after a New York timeout, it was smooth sailing. The Liberty wasted no time regaining the momentum – going up by a game high 17 points twice after a Charles and-1 hook shot and one minute later with a 3-point dagger from Wiggins in the corner.
Charles fell one point shy of her season high of 30 points that she had against Seattle last week with 29 on 11-of-18 shooting from the field. She led the team in scoring for the sixth-consecutive game.
The first half saw seven lead changes and six ties as the Liberty and the Storm battled back and forth, New York grabbing a slim one-point advantage going into the locker room.
The Liberty went down by four points early, but after a Swin Cash lay up and Charles hook shot the game was tied in less than two minutes. The Storm jumped out to a 3 point advantage with one minute left in the first, and again New York responded as Carolyn Swords hit a jumper with 47 seconds to play and Prince got a steal and hit Carson for a lay up to tie the game up with two seconds left.
The second quarter had five lead changes, four in a one-minute span, as neither team could find a way to go on a run or breakaway. Tanisha Wright drove hard to the basket, drew the foul and iced two free throws to put the Liberty up by their largest margin of the second quarter, three points, before Crystal Langhorne hit two of her own from the line to cut the advantage to one going into the break.
New York Liberty Postgame Notes
- Becky Hammon was inducted into the New York Liberty Ring of Honor at halftime. She is the sixth member of the Ring of Honor. Hammon starred in New York from 1999-06 and helped lead the franchise to three WNBA Finals appearances and ranks third in franchise history with 2,367 points.
- Tina Charles was one off her season-high, scoring 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting. It was the sixth-straight game she led the Liberty offensively.
- New York scored the first 13 points of the third quarter to turn a one-point halftime advantage into a 14-point lead in fewer than four minutes.
- Epiphanny Prince scored in double figures for the ninth-straight game, with all 11 points coming in the second half.
- Candice Wiggins scored in double figures for the second time this season, with 10, and Essence Carson rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
- The Liberty has now won six-straight over Seattle and is 7-1 against the Western Conference this season.
- New York limited the Storm to just nine third-quarter points and 27 in the second half. In the first meeting on July 21, Seattle shot a season-high 48.4 percent from the field.
- New York turned the ball over just 10 times and outscored Seattle in 27-7 in points off turnovers. The Liberty is now 7-0 when winning the turnover battle.
- Sue Bird led Seattle with 14 points and eclipsed 5,000-career points in the process, she now has 5,008 in her career.
- The Liberty still has not lost the battle in the paint all season and outscored the Storm in the paint 34-20.