NEW YORK, N.Y. – JUNE 23, 2016 – The New York Liberty will host its annual Pride Night game, presented by Resorts World Casino NYC, against the Chicago Sky on Friday, June 24, at 7:30 p.m.
New York has won five games in a row, its longest winning streak of the season, and took over first place in the Eastern Conference standings following a 90-79 double overtime win at Atlanta on Wednesday. This will be the first meeting of the season between New York and Chicago, and the Sky’s only visit to Madison Square Garden. The all-time series is tied 20-20, and the Liberty took 3-of-4 against their conference foe last season.
• The Liberty outlasted the Atlanta Dream in double overtime, 90-79, on Wednesday afternoon, winning its fifth game in a row and taking over first place in the Eastern Conference standings. Tina Charles narrowly missed out on recording a triple-double, finishing with 23 points, a career-high 10 assists, and nine rebounds. In all, the Liberty had six players score in double figures.
• New York announced on Tuesday that it has re-signed Australian forward Rebecca Allen. Allen originally signed with the Liberty in Feb. 2015, but appeared in just two games last year because of a knee injury. She missed the first 12 games of the 2016 season to train with the Australian Opals.
• On Friday night the Liberty will celebrate Pride Night presented by Resorts World Casino NYC. The Liberty and Resorts World Casino NYC will each make a $5,000 donation to the OneOrlando Fund. Both the Liberty and Sky will wear Orlando United shirts during warmups and the first 5,000 fans will receive Liberty/Orlando wrist bands.
• Sunday’s game will be the Liberty’s 20th Season Celebration presented by Coca-Cola, featuring a reunion of the inaugural 1997 Liberty team, which will be introduced during a pregame ceremony.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Coming off a week in which she averaged 28.7 ppg and was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for a third time, it was hard to believe Tina Charles would improve on her recent outings, but she did exactly that, nearly posting a triple double in the win over Atlanta.
Charles has emerged this season as unquestionably one of the most impactful players on every possession in the league. She leads the WNBA in scoring (22.1 ppg) and rebounding (9.8 rpg), but is also sixth in assists (4.5 apg), and dished out a career-high 10 dimes against the Dream. The advanced numbers tell a similar story, with her Player Impact Estimate (PIE) of 20.8 ranking second in the league, while her usage percentage of 30.0 is first. Charles is also third in win shares (2.4).
The Liberty dished out a season-high 28 assists in its 90-79 double overtime win at Atlanta on June 22, handing out a dime on a remarkable 80.0 percent of its made baskets. That is a trend that has been moving upward for the Liberty all season, but particularly over the last five games, with Tina Charles leading the way in assists with 29, while Tanisha Wright has 28 over the last five contests. New York has assisted 66.4 percent of its baskets this season, up from 60.5 in 2015, and over the past five games that number jumps to an assist on 72.5 percent of made baskets.
Not only has Tanisha Wright seen her assist numbers climb, over the last five games she is averaging 5.8 assists per game, but she is also looking for her own shot, and scoring at a much higher rate. Wright has scored in double figures in three-straight games for the Liberty (the first instance this season, and third in her tenure with the team) and is averaging 11.7 ppg during that stretch. She is shooting 14-of-30 (.467) from the field over the previous three contests.