NEW YORK LIBERTY (13-12) at ATLANTA DREAM (10-16)
Friday, Aug. 11 • Atlanta, Ga. (McCamish Pavilion) • 7:30 PM (ET)
The New York Liberty will face the Atlanta Dream on the road Friday night at McCamish Pavilion, at 7:30 PM (ET) on MSG Network. It is the 3rd meeting of the season between two Eastern Conference rivals that have split the 1st two head-to-had matchups, each protecting home court. New York is coming off an 81-76 win over the Indiana Fever at The Garden, while Atlanta lost to the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday night and has dropped 4 in a row overall.
• The New York Liberty returned to The Garden following a 5-game road trip and picked up an 81-76 win in a tight contest with the Indiana Fever. Epiphanny Prince broke a 70-70 tie with a 15-foot jumper at 1:53, and the Liberty shot 9-of-10 from the line down the stretch to hold off a Fever team that earlier in the game had erased a 14-point deficit. Tina Charles led the way for New York with 26 points, and Shavonte Zellous added 16 points and 8 rebounds.
• Tina Charles enters Friday night’s game needing just 7 points to pass Liberty Ring of Honor member Becky Hammon for 3rd place in franchise history in scoring. Charles has scored 2,361 points in her 3-plus seasons as a member of the Liberty and is the franchise leader with a 18.8 ppg scoring average.
• Kiah Stokes scored in double figures for the 4th time this season in the win over Indiana on Tuesday, going 5-of-6 from the field to finishing with 12 points.
• New York dominated the paint in the win over Indiana, outscoring the Fever 36-10 on the interior. The +26 margin in the paint was the greatest disparity for the Liberty this season, and came after the team was outscored 38-30 in the paint at Indiana less than 2 weeks earlier.
Tiffany Hayes and Shavonte Zellous figured to be matched up against one another on Friday night. In the last meeting, Hayes scored 11 points and Zellous finished with 7, but both are key to their team’s success. Zellous is coming off a 16 point performance against Indiana, where she got to the line 11 times, while Hayes leads the Dream, averaging 16.5 ppg.
Despite 21 points from Tina Charles the New York Liberty was unable to overcome a slow offensive start in an 81-72 loss to Atlanta back on July 2. The Dream led 27-15 at the end of the 1st quarter and by as many as 20 overall, with 4 starters scoring in double figures, led by Brittney Sykes, who finished with 19 on 9-of-16 shooting. The Liberty closed the gap to 6 with fewer than 3 minutes to play in the 4th quarter, but was never closer than that.
LIBERTY PARTNERS WITH RISE TO HOST 1ST-EVER UNITY GAME
The Liberty will partner with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) to host a Unity Game at The Garden on Sunday, Aug. 20, when hosts to the Minnesota Lynx. Prior to tipoff, the Liberty and RISE will host a panel discussion from 1-2:30 PM in the Madison Square Garden Theater lobby, featuring a diverse group of athletes, law enforcement officials, and community activists, with a goal of developing a solution-oriented agenda focusing on creating positive change in the community. In the moments leading up to the game, the New York Liberty and Minnesota Lynx players will lock arms in a show of solidarity on court during the performance of the national anthem. Additional information about the Unity Game can be found at nyliberty.com.
STAR FOR A DAY
On Garden of Dreams Night at The Garden on Aug. 8, the Liberty made teen Sanaah Hamilton of Mt. Vernon, N.Y., a member of the team for a day. Hamilton, who was teammates with Shamoya McKenzie, a basketball player who was killed tragically on New Year’s Eve when she was hit by a stray bullet, signed a one day contract and received a personalized jersey at a press conference with assistant coach Herb Williams before the game. She sat on the bench for warmups, and was introduced to The Garden crowd along with the Liberty starters.
TO THE POINT
Bria Hartley has been performing at a high level since re-joining the starting lineup before the game against the Washington Mystics on July 16. Over the previous 8 games she has scored in double figures 6 times, twice matching her season-high of 17 points, ranking 2nd on the team averaging 12.3 ppg while shooting .479 from the field (35-of-73) and .417 from 3-point range (15-36). She has led the Liberty in scoring in back-to-back games for the 1st time this season, posting 17 points at San Antonio on Aug. 1, and following that up with 16 points against the Sparks on Aug. 4. Hartley has scored in double figures in 3-straight games, her longest such streak since her rookie season in 2014, when she had a stretch of 5-straight games from June 13-22.
LIBERTY FACTS & FIGURES – KEY NUMBERS
The number of points that Tina Charles needs to move past Becky Hammon (2,367) for 3rd place in franchise history in scoring. Charles currently ranks 4th with 2,361 points.
New York scored 36 points in the paint in the win over the Fever on Tuesday, compared to just 10 for the Fever, a margin of 26 points for the Liberty, its largest disparity in the paint this year. New York is 7-5 when it hold the advantage in the paint.
Bria Hartley’s rookie season, which was the last time she had a stretch of 3-straight games scoring in double figures. Hartley is averaging 15.3 ppg over the last 3 games.
The Liberty is leading the WNBA in defensive field goal percentage at .417. New York has led the league in defensive shooting percentage in back-to-back seasons.
Tina Charles has posted a double-double in 55.1 percent of her career games played. She has 140 double-doubles in her career and leads the Liberty with 11 double-doubles this season.
New York erased a 15-point 2nd half deficit to come back in beat Indiana 85-84 on 7/28. It was the largest deficit overcome for a win this season, and the largest since digging out of a 15-point hold in the 4th quarter at Minnesota on 6/29/16.