NEW YORK LIBERTY (7-5) vs. WASHINGTON MYSTICS (9-5)
Thursday, June 29 • Washington, D.C. (Verizon Center) • 7:00 PM (ET)
The top two teams in the Eastern Conference will face off for the 1st time this season when the Liberty heads down to the nation’s capital to battle the Washington Mystics on Thursday, June 29, at 7 p.m. After missing the playoffs last season the revamped Washington Mystics are off to a 9-5 start, the 3rd best record in the league and top in the Eastern Conference, while the Liberty looks to start its longest road swing since the 2013 season on a positive note, and bounce back from last Friday night’s home loss to the Connecticut Sun.
• The New York Liberty return to action after a 6-day layoff following a 94-89 setback against the Connecticut Sun on June 23 at Madison Square Garden. The Liberty is exiting a stretch where it played just one game over a 13 day period, and is in the midst of a swing were 6-of-7 will be on the road.
• The Liberty nearly made an historic comeback in the 94-89 setback against the Sun. After falling behind by 21 points in the 3rd quarter, New York came all the way back to tie the game at 86-86 on a Shavonte Zellous layup with 1:06 remaining. It would have been the largest-ever comeback win for the team, with the current record being a victory after facing a 20-point deficit at Washington in 2003.
• This will be New York’s longest road trip since the 2013 season when the team played 4-consecutive road games from June 26-July 4. The Liberty has had 4-straight road games previously in 2015 and 2013, but those were both broken up by the WNBA All-Star Break.
• New York became the 1st-ever professional sports franchise to enter a float in the NYC Pride March. Current players Bria Hartley, Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, Brittany Boyd, Rebecca Allen, Shavonte Zellous, Amanda Zahui B, and Kiah Stokes all attended the march, along with associate head coach Katie Smith.
Two of the league’s leading scorers and former league MVPs will battle in New York’s Tina Charles and Washington’s Elena Delle Donne, the 1st meeting of the season between the two after the Mystics acquired Delle Donne in an offseason trade. Charles ranks 3rd in the league in scoring (20.5 ppg) and Delle Donne is not far behind in 5th place at 19.8 ppg. She is coming off a 25-point performance in Washington’s 100-70 win over Seattle on Tuesday, while Charles posted her 6th double-double of the season with 20 points and 11 rebounds against Connecticut on Friday.
LIBERTY 1ST-EVER PRO SPORTS FRANCHISE TO PARTICIPATE IN NYC PRIDE MARCH
On June 25 the New York Liberty became the 1st-ever professional sports franchise to enter a float and participate in the NYC Pride March. Attended by current players Bria Hartley, Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, Brittany Boyd, Rebecca Allen, Shavonte Zellous, Amanda Zahui B, and Kiah Stokes, along with associate head coach Katie Smith, all completed the march, while head coach Bill Laimbeer and Isiah Thomas were on hand for the disembark. The Liberty completed the entire route, attended by an estimated 1 million spectators. It was the culmination of the franchise’s
LONGEST ROAD TRIP IN FOUR YEARS
The Liberty is embarking on its longest road trip since the 2013 season, 12 days on the road and 4-straight games away from The Garden, visiting Washington, Atlanta, Seattle, and Phoenix. That stretch saw New York play 4-straight away games from June 26-July 4. While the Liberty had 4-straight road games during a stretch in both 2015 and 2013, those were broken up by the WNBA All-Star Break each time.
NEAR HISTORIC COMEBACK
New York nearly completed its largest-ever comeback in erasing a 21 point deficit against the Connecticut Sun on June 23 at The Garden. After falling behind by 21 points in the 3rd quarter, New York knotted the score at 86-86 with 1:06 to play, but was unable to regain the lead. New York’s franchise record for most points overcome in a win is 20, set on August 21, 2003, when it defeated the Washington Mystics at the MCI Center, 65-60.
After missing 6 games to compete in the EuroBasket 2016 Tournament, guard Epiphanny Prince and center Kia Vaughn were active against the Connecticut Sun on June 23, and both saw action off the bench. Prince logged more than 20 minutes, scoring 14 points with 5 rebounds while knocking down a pair of 3-pointers. Vaughn was just shy of 20 minutes of game time, scoring 4 points with 4 rebounds.
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 7 games, Zellous is 2nd on the team averaging 19.7 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. Zellous has posted double figures in 7-straight games, the 2nd longest stretch of her career, and the longest since she scored in double figures in the final 15 games of the 2013 season, the year she was named the WNBA’s Most Improved Player.
SEASON-HIGH FOR HARTLEY
Guard Bria Hartley is in the midst of an impressive stretch for the Liberty, scoring in double figures in consecutive games for the 1st time this season. She scored a season-high 17 points in the Liberty’s 102-93 overtime win at Dallas on June 16, and followed that up with 13 points and a pair of 3-pointers against Connecticut on June 23. During the month of June, she is averaging 9.6 ppg and has scored in double figures in 4-of-7 games played, shooting 7-of-23 (.304) from 3-point range.