NEW YORK, N.Y. – JULY 20, 2016 – The New York Liberty will look to continue its hot steak heading into the Olympic Break as it plays the second game of a back-to-back in hosting the Indiana Fever for Camp Day presented by Mike and Ike on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
The Liberty and Fever are the two hottest teams in the Eastern Conference, as New York has won 6-of-7 overall and Indiana is 4-1 in its last five, knocking off the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday night, handing LA just its second loss of the season.
New York has won both meetings against the Fever this year, including a 91-59 win at The Garden back on June 3, meaning the Liberty has a chance to clinch the season series on Thursday; Indiana is the only team New York plays three times this season.
• The Liberty improved to 18-7 overall, matching the best record in franchise history through 25 games (2015) with an 88-81 win at Washington on Wednesday afternoon. New York was powered largely by a record effort from its bench, with the Liberty reserves combining for 69 points, led by Rebecca Allen, who finished with a career-high 19 points and four 3-pointers.
• Despite Tina Charles finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds in the win over Washington, the Liberty’s starting five combined for just 19 points, tying the WNBA record for the lowest point total for a starting unit in a winning effort in league history.
• Thursday afternoon’s game will be the second of two back-to-backs for the Liberty this year. The only other time this season New York has played two games in as many days was the first two games of the season, when it picked up wins over Washington and Dallas, the latter coming at Madison Square Garden.
• New York has won both meetings so far this season against the Indiana Fever, topping them 91-59 at Madison Square Garden back on June 3, and coming back to win 78-75 in overtime at Indiana. The Fever are the only team New York plays four times in 2016 as a result of the league’s new balanced schedule.
PLAYER TO WATCH
The contributions from the bench have been exceptional for New York all season long, but over the past couple of week the Libs’ second unit has been stealing the show. The steady yet dynamic play of Brittany Boyd has been a big part of that. Boyd has been making significant contributions on both ends of the floor, averaging 11.0 points, 3.3 assists and 2.8 steals per game over the past three games.
She is coming off one of the best games of her career, scoring a season-high 14 points with a career-best seven assists and three steals in Wednesday’s victory at Washington. One other noticeable difference is the uptick in her shooting percentage, which is .372 for the season but .480 over the past three games.
The Liberty saw its second unit combine for a WNBA record 69 points in the 88-81 win at Washington on July 20. Rebecca Allen led four New York reserves in double figures with a career-high 19 points on four 3-point field goals. New York topped the previous all-time high of 63 points, set by Washington in 2014, but that came in an overtime effort, the non-OT record was 62, set by New York in 2008. The Liberty is averaging 30.6 bench points per game, which leads the WNBA. Over the previous five games, New York is averaging 44.4 points per game from its reserves.
With five reserves combining to score 69 points in New York’s 88-81 win at Washington on July 20, there weren’t many points left for the starters. Tina Charles led the way with 13 for the Liberty starting five, but the 19 points for New York’s starters tied a WNBA record for the fewest points scored by a team’s starting five in a win in league history. It had been done twice before, but not since Cleveland saw 19 points come from its starters in a 66-53 win over Indiana on June 29, 2003. The WNBA record for fewest points by a starting five in any game is 15.