The New York Liberty (4-8) turned in their lowest-scoring performance of the season against the league’s leading Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday, losing 80-54 at the Staples Center. They will look for more success against another Western Conference foe when they host the Phoenix Mercury (10-5) on Tuesday at the Westchester County Center.
Tina Charles’ 20.0 points per game rank fifth in the league (as of 6/25).
Charles’ 6.8 rebounds per game are good for 12th in the league (as of 6/25).
Kia Nurse’s ranks fourth among rookies with 11.3 points per game (as of 6/25).
Bria Hartley is 10th in the league with 4.1 assists per game (as of 6/25).
Brittany Boyd’s 4.3 assists per game would rank ninth in the league, but her eight appearances do not qualify (as of 6/25).
The Liberty have failed to hit the 70-point benchmark twice this season (63 against the Aces (6/13) and 54 against the Sparks (6/24).
Amanda Zahui B racked up a season-high five offensive rebounds in the last matchup against the Mercury.
Hartley scored 18 points against the Mercury last time out, her season-high.
The Liberty and Mercury both rank top-five in the league in assists per game (as of 6/25).
Liberty starting center Kia Vaughn will draw the tough assignment of guarding Brittney Griner, who scored 26 points on 12 field goals in a Phoenix victory earlier this season. Vaughn has proven to be a valuable stopper as of late, limited opposing starting centers to just 8.0 points per game against the Liberty over the past three contests.
On June 5, 2018, Brittney Griner scored 26 points and Diana Taurasi added 21 as the Mercury beat the Liberty at Madison Square Garden, 80-74.
It was a back-and-forth affair with 17 lead changes, but the Liberty failed to score in the game’s final three minutes.
Tina Charles led the Liberty with 25 points. The loss snapped a two-game New York win streak.
INSTANT OFFENSE OFF THE BENCH
Amanda Zahui B finished Sunday’s contest against the Sparks with a career-high 21 points. She has led the Liberty in scoring in each of the last two matchups, averaging 17.5 points per game between the two. The center also drained a pair of threes in both contests, going a combined 4-of-7 (57 percent) from deep.
CRASHING THE OFFENSIVE GLASS
In the last matchup against the Mercury, the Liberty grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, a season-high, leading to 16 second chance points. New York has struggled on the offensive glass since notching over seven just once in seven games.
The matchup against the Sparks saw Shavonte Zellous return to the starting lineup, who missed the previous contest due to illness. Epiphanny Prince, who has been gradually working her way back from a concussion, replaced Marissa Coleman in the starting lineup for the first time this season.
MOVING UP THE SCORING LIST
Tina Charles notched her 5,000th career point during the Liberty’s West Coast road trip. During this season’s first matchup of the Phoenix series, Charles secured her 4876th career point. In doing so, she surpassed Hall of Famer and three-time MVP Sheryl Swoopes to move up to 19th on the WNBA all-time scoring list. Now eight games later, the forward is just two points away from passing Taj McWilliams-Franklin to move into 18th all-time.
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