NEW YORK LIBERTY (7-4) vs. CONNECTICUT SUN (5-5)
Friday, June 23 • New York, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden) • 7:30 PM (ET)
New York will host the Connecticut Sun at The Garden for Pride Night on Friday, June 23, at 7:30 PM. It will be the 2nd meeting in 9 days between these two teams, and the Sun are one of the hottest teams in the league, rattling off 4-straight wins, the longest current win streak in the league, after handing the Minnesota Lynx their 1st loss of the season last Saturday on the road. Prior to last Wednesday’s loss, New York had won 9-straight against the Sun. This will be the 2nd of four meetings between these two teams this season.
• The Liberty have had a week off since picking up a 102-93 overtime win at Dallas back on June 16. New York erased a double-digit deficit for the 1st time this season, coming back from 10 down in the 2nd half to split a pair of road games last week. Shavonte Zellous starred in the win, hitting a game-tying shot with 0.6 remaining to force overtime, finishing with 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Tina Charles posted double-double No. 5 with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
• The Liberty has re-activated guard Epiphanny Prince and center Kia Vaughn from the temporary suspension list, after the pair missed the previous 6 games while fulfilling national team duties for the EuroBasket Women Tournament. To make room for their addition, New York waived guard Ameryst Alston and forward Cierra Burdick.
• During the month of June, both Tina Charles and Shavonte Zellous have averaged at least 20.0 ppg. Charles is averaging a double-double of 22.2 ppg and 10.0 rpg over the previous 6 games, while Zellous is averaging 20.0 ppg and shooting a team-best .533 from the field.
• New York has moved up to 3rd in the WNBA in blocks with 4.6 per game after recording a season-high 11 rejections at Dallas on June 16.
Tina Charles and Jonquel Jones will face off in the paint in a battle between two of the best post players in the game. Jones had 19 points and 12 rebounds when these teams met a little over a week ago, shooting 8-of-12 from the field, while Charles led the Liberty with 17 points. The Liberty will look to limit Jones as much as they can around the basket while Charles gets going on the offensive end.
This will be the 2nd meeting over the last 9 days between New York and Connecticut, as the Liberty looks to avenge a 96-76 loss suffered on June 14 at Mohegan Sun Arena, which snapped a 9-game winning streak for the Liberty in the series. Courtney Williams led 5 players in double figures for the Sun, scoring 22 points, while Jonquel Jones had 19 points and 12 rebounds, en route to being named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Tina Charles (17) and Shavonte Zellous (16) led the Liberty offensively. Connecticut controlled the paint, outscoring New York 42-32 on the interior, while shooting 50.7 percent from the field.
LIBERTY CELEBRATING PRIDE MONTH PRESENTED BY RESORTS WORLD CASINO NYC
The New York Liberty will celebrate Pride Month presented by Resorts World Casino NYC this June, highlighted by its Pride Night game and participation in the LGBT Pride March in Manhattan during Pride Weekend June 23-25. This year’s annual Pride Night game will take place on Friday, June 23, as the Liberty hosts the Connecticut Sun at 7:30 PM. For the second year in a row, the NOH8 Campaign will stage a photoshoot in Chase Square prior to tipoff that evening. Additionally, singer/songwriter Crystal Waters will perform during halftime, and Dragonette will perform live in arena during the 2nd half. The 1st 5,000 fans in attendance will receive rainbow Liberty sunglasses, courtesy of Resorts World Casino NYC. For the 1st time in its 21-year history, the Liberty will enter a float in the LGBT Pride March down 5th Avenue in Manhattan, one of the biggest pride celebrations in the world. The Liberty contingent will include current players and coaches, team executives, a guest DJ, fans, and members of the Timeless Torches and Torch Patrol.
The Liberty has removed guard Epiphanny Prince and center Kia Vaughn from the temporary suspension list as they have returned to the team from their national team commitments to compete in the 2017 EuroBasket Women Tournament in the Czech Republic. To make room on the roster, New York waived guard Ameryst Alston and forward Cierra Burdick. The Liberty went 5-1 during Prince and Vaughn’s absence. In three games in the EuroBasket for the Czech Republic, Vaughn averaged 16.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg. Competing for Russia, Prince averaged 13.0 ppg, and 5.0 apg.
ZELLOUS STEPPING UP HER GAME
With guard Epiphanny Prince and center Kia Vaughn missing most of the month of June in order to compete in the EuroBasket Women Tournament, the entire team was called on to step up and replace their production, and guard Shavonte Zellous has certainly responded in a big way. Over the past 6 games, Zellous is 2nd on the team averaging 20.0 ppg. She posted back-to-back 20-point games for the 1st time in her career, netting 27 against Dallas on June 2, her highest point tally since pouring in a career-best 33 on June 25, 2014, and topped that with 28 points in the overtime win at Dallas on June 16.
Led by Tina Charles and Kiah Stokes, the Liberty blocked a season-high 11 shots in its 102-93 overtime win at Dallas on June 16, with Charles swatting a season-high 4 shots, and Stokes finishing with 3 blocks. The Liberty vaulted up to 3rd in the WNBA, averaging 4.6 blocks per game, trailing just Chicago (6.1) and Phoenix (4.7).
MODEL OF CONSISTENCY
Once again in 2017 Liberty forward Tina Charles is proving herself to be one of the most consistently dominant players in the WNBA, currently ranking 3rd in the league in scoring (20.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.0 rpg). Charles has scored in double figures in 9-straight games, topping 20 points 7 times over that stretch with 5 double-doubles. She also ranks 2nd in the league, averaging 33.5 minutes per game, and is 1st in the WNBA with a 28.7 usage percentage, and 6th in the WNBA with a 17.5 PIE (Player Impact Estimate) rating.
HAND ME DOWNS
In the 102-93 overtime win against Dallas on June 16, the Liberty outscored the Wings 15-10 in 2nd chance opportunities, improving to 6-0 this season when it wins the 2nd chance scoring battle. Conversely, New York is just 1-3 when an opponent scores more 2nd chance points. So far this season, the Liberty is averaging 14.3 2nd chance points per game.