Coming off a thrilling victory at the buzzer against the Connecticut Sun on Wednesday, the New York Liberty (7-14) carried its momentum into Sunday, to rout the visiting Chicago Sky, 107-84, at the Westchester County Center.
After a first half of action the featured 100 combined points, the Sky (7-14) trailed by just six at the break. A Tina Charles hook shot with 7:58 left to play in the third quarter snowballed a 10-0 Liberty run, as New York went on to outscore Chicago 26-8 in the period.
Charles paced New York with 21 points, her 10th game this season with over 20. She shot 69-percent from the field while also chipping in six rebounds.
Brittany Boyd made her first start of the season in the contest, and she rose to the occasion, notching the first double-double of her career with 14 points and 10 assists. It was her second double-digit assist performance of the season, and her fourth with at least eight. The point guard fought for four steals as well.
With Boyd joining the initial five out, Bria Hartley came off the bench after starting the first 20 games of the season for the Liberty. In her reserve role, she registered 13 points, marking the first time she reached double-digits since July 3 against Seattle and the sixth time netting 10 or more this year. She also contributed six rebounds and five assists in her 22-minute production.
“Bria came off the bench thinking ‘whatever my role is I’m just going to go out there and perform,’ and she definitely did that tonight.” Charles on Hartley’s performance in the new role. “That’s something that all of us in this locker room can learn from.”
With a jumper from well behind the arc midway through the second quarter, Sugar Rodgers moved into fifth in franchise history for made three-pointers. She finished with 14 points on 75-percent shooting from the field. Shavonte Zellous and Epiphanny Prince also finished in double figures, notching 11 points apiece. The team is now 7-2 when Zellous scores at least 10 points.
The Liberty set a variety of season-highs in the game, including point total (107), margin of victory (23), shooting percentage (61.2) and assists (27).
While the Liberty offense stole the show, head coach Katie Smith praised her team’s defensive performance after the game. “I thought everyone was contributing and was in an aggressive mode. I thought our defense was solid for the game. They could put a streak together. They were down 22 against DC and put a 16-2 run together so I was pleased that we didn’t let that happen. That was a real positive for us.”
The contest marked the Liberty’s second annual Unity Day, capping off their first-ever Unity Weekend. The three-day commemoration, based on social awareness, included an interactive workshop, a youth basketball clinic, and a pre-game panel focusing on themes such as improving race relations and how sports can assist in uniting communities.
“I think it’s awesome. I think all these ladies have a platform. Especially the times we live in now to be able to have a voice, to be able to keep learning, keep effecting change.” Smith added. “It’s huge that they’re able to have an identity within this league and I think that’s what makes this league very special.”
The victory was the Liberty’s second in a row, as they continue to try to turn their season around in the second half. They will look to capture their third straight win when they face off against the Dallas Wings on Tuesday. The midday matchup is set to begin at 1:00 p.m. (ET) at the College Park Center.
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