NEW YORK LIBERTY (20-12) vs. SAN ANTONIO STARS (7-25)
Friday, Sept. 1 • New York, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden) • 7:30 PM (ET)
The New York Liberty will put its 8-game winning streak on the line when it hosts the San Antonio Stars for its 2017 regular season home finale on Fan Appreciation Night presented by Chase Friday, Sept. 1 at 7:30 PM. The Liberty have secured either the No. 3 or 4 seed for the WNBA Playoffs, and are looking to carry their recent momentum into the postseason. Friday night’s game closes out a 3-game home stand for the Liberty, where they have gone 12-4 this season.
• The New York Liberty extended its current winning streak to 8-straight games, picking up a 92-62 win over the Chicago Sky on Sunday afternoon at The Garden. It was nearly a wire-to-wire victory for the Liberty, who were led by Tina Charles (22 points), one of 4 players to score in double figures. The 30-point margin of victory matched New York’s biggest win of the season (85-55 vs. Washington on 7/16).
• With the win over the Sky the Liberty secured a top-four seed in the WNBA Playoffs, and a bye into the 2nd Round. New York will open the postseason at The Garden on Sunday, Sept. 10, with the winner advancing to the WNBA semifinals.
• The Liberty has won 8-straight games, for its 2nd-longest winning streak in team history and longest since 2010 when they 10 in a row on the way to a 22-12 overall record. Additionally, the Liberty has now won at least 20 games in 3-straight seasons for the 1st time in franchise history. New York has gone 64-36 (.640) overall since the start of the 2015 season.
• The Liberty recorded a season-high 14 steals against Chicago, led by Rebecca Allen who finished with 3. The Liberty had 5 players finish with at least 2 steals and forced a season-high 23 turnovers in the process.
Kayla McBride posted a big game when the Stars defeated the Liberty back on Aug. 1, scoring 31 points while knocking down 5 3-pointers. New York will look to counter with Epiphanny Prince, who has had a hot shooting hand as of late, shooting 11-of-22 from 3-point range over the last 5 games. Prince scored just 7 points in that meeting last month, but has been strong during the recent home stand, averaging 15.5 ppg last weekend.
Behind 31 points from Kayla McBride the Stars earned a 93-81 win over the Liberty back on Aug. 1. New York was playing its 3rd road game in 5 days and 4th straight road game coming off the All-Star Break. After trailing by 7 at the half, New York came back to take a 7-point lead in the 3rd quarter, but the Stars caught fire in the 4th, outscoring the Liberty 28-12 to pick up the victory, the 1st of a season-long 3-game winning streak for San Antonio.
PLAYOFFS TIP OFF SUNDAY, SEPT. 10 AT THE GARDEN
With two games remaining in the regular season, the Liberty has posted a 3rd-straight 20-win season and secured a 2nd-straight bye into the 2nd Round of the WNBA Playoffs. New York is assured to finish either 3rd or 4th in the league standings, and will open the postseason at home on Sunday, Sept. 10. The game time and opponent will be determined at the conclusion of the 1st round games. The winner of the single-elimination game on Sept. 10, will advance to face either the Minnesota Lynx of Los Angeles Sparks in a best-of-5 WNBA semifinal series.
CHARLES INCREASES PLAYER OF THE WEEK RECORD WITH 26th WIN
Tina Charles was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Aug. 28, earning the accolade for the 27th time in her career, increasing her WNBA record career tally for POW wins. It was her 6th Player of the Week win of 2017, this time coming after she led the Liberty to a 3-0 week, including wins over Indiana, Washington, and Chicago. The previous week, Charles ranked 4th amongst East players in scoring, averaging 18.3 ppg, and was 5th in rebounding at 8.0 rpg. She also was second in three-point field goal percentage (62.5, 5-of-8) and tied for second in steals (2.0 spg).
THE DIFFERENCE IS DEFENSE
New York is currently on a season-long 8-game winning streak, and while the offense has been clicking since a change to the starting lineup was made just prior to the All-Star Break, the Liberty’s defensive pressure has been a huge factor in rattling off 8-straight wins. Over the past eight games, New York is limiting its opponents to just 66.4 ppg, .377 shooting from the field and .270 from 3-point range. The Liberty has held 4 of its last 8 opponents under 40 percent from the field, and limited Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Washington to fewer than 70 points when they visited The Garden. New York has a +13.1 scoring differential over the current winning streak, a sizable jump from its +2.9 ppg advantage over the course of the season.
Center Kiah Stokes posted her 4th double-double of the season, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win over the Chicago Sky on Aug. 27. It was her 1st double-double since scoring 10 points with 16 rebounds at Chicago on July 30. Stokes is averaging 4.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game this season.
NO 2ND CHANCES
New York has won just 4 times when it has failed to outscore an opponent in 2nd chance opportunities in 2017. The Liberty is 16-4 when winning the 2nd chance scoring battle, and 3-7 when allowing more 2nd chance opportunities. The winning percentage is even better when New York scores at least 15 points in 2nd chance opportunities, where the Liberty has a 11-2 record. New York ranks 3rd in the WNBA averaging 13.2 2nd chance points per game, and 3rd, allowing just 10.1 per game.