Liberty look to extend winning streak against Atlanta
Madison Square Garden will be buzzing with local public school students today as the Liberty host the Dream on school day. The Liberty hope to add another win today to gain some ground in the standings.
Saturday, the Liberty defeated the Phoenix Sun 88-72 behind another career best performance by Kiah Stokes. After the Dallas game, Stokes told All Heart in Hoop City that Tina Charles and others asked her to step up and play her role.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“I talked to Tina [Charles] earlier this week and she said,’We need you … get in the paint, post up, rebound. Be an option.’”[/perfectpullquote]
Since, she has responded with two back-to-back career high scoring games. She also picked up her first career back-to-back double-double games. Shavonte Zellous added 21 points, earning her first career back-to-back 20 point games. Charles added 16 points, and notched her 2,000th point. She is the 6th member of the New York Liberty to reach the milestone. Charles also grabbed her 22nd Player of the Week honors, tying Tamika Catchings for most-ever. Again, Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe showed her constant growth, tallying her career best 8 points.
Improvements on the second unit
Rebecca Allen knocked down 4 points in her six minutes of play. Overall, the bench contributed 13 points and 4 rebounds. With Zellous and Stokes heating up, the Liberty was able to edge the Mercury. However, moving forward players like Rebecca Allen and Lindsay Allen will need to have a greater impact on the stat line.
— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) June 4, 2017
Head coach Laimbeer looks for players like Raincock-Ekunwe and Lindsay Allen to add energy down the line. In the postgame press conference on Saturday, Laimbeer made it clear that he doesn’t expect Stokes or Zellous to score 20+ points every game. Charles averages 20 points per game, but there is room for other players to improve their consistency, or develop a high scorer by committee.
Look for starting guard Sugar Rodgers to get her shot back today against Atlanta. Rodgers posted 8 points, but if more than capable of – and expected to – hit double digits. When players like Rodgers, Rebecca Allen and Bria Hartley consistently contribute to the offense, the Liberty will be a dangerous team. Stokes and Charles underneath are guaranteed to draw defensive help in the post. That should leave time and space for shooters like Allen, Hartley and Rodgers to rack up points beyond the three-point arc.
Catch the Liberty and the Dream in action today at 11:00am ET on WNBA League Pass, NBA TV and the MSG Network.