In their second matchup of a three-game series, host New York (3-4) played a tightly-contested game against the Indiana Fever on Sunday, but clutch plays down the stretch secured the 78-75 victory for the Liberty. They will look to keep things rolling against Bill Laimbeer and the Las Vegas Aces (1-7), Wednesday evening at the Westchester County Center.
Tina Charles’ 22.3 points per game rank second in the league (as of 6/12).
Charles’ 8.1 rebounds per game are good for fifth in the league, and the forward has notched three double-doubles this season (as of 6/12).
Kia Nurse’s ranks 18th in the league and third among rookies with 14.6 points per game (as of 6/12).
Nurse is shooting 90.3% from the charity stripe, the eighth best mark in the WNBA (as of 6/12).
Bria Hartley is eighth in the league with 4.3 assists per game (as of 6/12).
The Aces have yet to win a game on the road this season.
Las Vegas head coach Bill Laimbeer served in the same position with the Liberty for five seasons, leading them to a conference finals appearance in 2015. He joined the Aces this past offseason.
A trio of former Liberty players now suit up for Las Vegas; Carolyn Swords, Kelsey Bone, and Lindsey Allen. Allen was featured on the Liberty’s training camp roster.
The game will feature a head-to-head matchup between two of the league’s best all-around players in Tina Charles and A’ja Wilson. Charles, the seasoned veteran, is second in the league in scoring and fifth in rebounding. Wilson, the rookie phenom, ranks sixth in the league in both categories, averaging 20.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
On September 1, 2017, Tina Charles and Epiphanny Prince scored 16 points apiece as the New York Liberty beat the San Antonio Stars, 81-69.
Shavonte Zellous and Kia Vaughn each added 10 points for the Liberty. Kelsey Plum led the Stars with 18.
New York entered the matchup having already clinched a first-round postseason bye. It was the second-to-last game for San Antonio, who relocated to Las Vegas following the 2017 season.
DOWN TO THE WIRE
The Liberty have yet to experience a relaxed fourth quarter this season, as each of their matchups have come down to the final minute of play. Their average point differential is -0.6, and their four setbacks have been by a combined 15 points.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
The win over Indiana saw five Liberty players score in double figures- Sugar Rodgers (16), Charles (13), Hartley (12), Shavonte Zellous (10), and Nurse (10). It was the second consecutive game in which four or more players reached the 10-point benchmark. The bench chipped in 32, and on the season Liberty reserves have averaged 27.4 points per contest.
FIRING FROM DEEP
Liberty players are not afraid to let it fly from behind the arc. Their 23.9 three-point attempts per game lead the league. Versus Indiana the second time around, New York had its best performance from distance this season, going 13-of-24. Rodgers spearheaded the attack with five of her own, the most made by a Liberty player this season.
ON THE MEND
Wednesday’s matchup against Las Vegas marks a return for both Epiphanny Prince and Kiah Stokes. Since recovering from a concussion, Prince has yet to be featured in a game this season. Stokes has sat out the past three games to nurse a left foot injury. It will be the first game this season the Liberty have a full roster at their disposal. Prince averaged 12.0 points per game in 2017, and the team is 2-1 when Stokes has suited up this year.
COACH’S CORNER on team’s depth
“I think it’s huge. It’s something that we need to continue to kind of embrace. We challenge ourselves to make the right reads and of course we miss Tina, but opposing teams make an extraordinary effort to front her, and to put somebody on the back-side. They want somebody else to beat them. There was a couple of good high-low passes and there are other times when we could do a better job getting the ball to her and recognizing situations, but overall it was really good to see other people be aggressive and shoot the ball well. Boyd played well and really pushed the tempo. Again, I thought a lot of people made a lot of contributions.”
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