Saturday, July 11th, 2020

Tina Charles, Candice Wiggins help Liberty take down the Sky, 89-81

Published on July 1, 2015


Behind a season-high 26 points from center Tina Charles and red-hot shooting from 3-point range, the New York Liberty beat the Chicago Sky 89-81 Tuesday night at Allstate Arena.

Charles posted season double-double No. 4 and the 101st of her career as she also pulled down 11 rebounds for the Liberty.

She was one of five players to score in double figures for New York (6-4), which scored a season-high 89 points while drilling nine shots from 3-point range.

It was Candice Wiggins leading the way from downtown, as she was a blistering 5-for-5 to compile a season-best 15 points. Sugar Rodgers, who scored in double figures for the sixth-straight game, nailed three threes to finish with 11, and Kiah Stokes recorded her first-career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

After leading by 12 points at the half, New York had to withstand several big runs from Chicago (6-5) over the final 20 minutes, but was able to answer every time.

The Sky nearly couldn’t miss to start the second half, hitting 9-of-11 to pull within two points on a Courtney Vandersloot 20-footer at 4:23, but Tanisha Wright responded on the other end, burying a three to spark a 13-3 New York run to end the third.

The lead would swell to 15 as Wiggins connected from three once again, making it 76-61 on New York’s first offensive possession of the fourth quarter.

Chicago steadily chipped away, pulling within two possessions on an Elena Delle Donne floater at 2:48, only to see Rodgers come up with the dagger 25 seconds later, a triple to push the advantage back to nine points.

Delle Donne, who has been putting up historic scoring numbers to start the season, finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds, but was slightly below her league-leading season average of 29.0 ppg.

New York, which entered the game leading the WNBA in opponent field goal percentage at 36.0 percent, held the Sky to just 39.4 percent from the field, the eighth Liberty foe that failed to break the 40.0 percent shooting threshold this year.

It was thanks to Charles the Liberty were able to keep pace with Chicago in the first quarter, as she dominated the game from the start, hitting her first three shots from the field and scoring 13 first-quarter points as the Liberty took a 27-25 lead while shooting 57 percent (12-of-21) from the field.

New York scored the first nine points of the second quarter, capped off by a Wiggins 3-pointer from the left side to push the lead up to 36-25.

The Sky would close to within 39-33 as Delle Donne sank a pair of free throws with 2:40 remaining, but New York ended the half with a 9-3 spurt that featured a Charles 3-point play and another corner trey for Wiggins.

New York held Chicago to just 28.9 percent shooting through 20 minutes of action and outscored Chicago 24-10 in the paint while holding a dominant 26-14 edge on the glass.


  • New York had five players score in double figures for the first time this season and scored a season-high 89 points.
  • The win snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Sky, and was the first for New York over Chicago since August 21, 2012.
  • The Liberty continued its dominance in the paint, outscoring the Sky 34-28 in the interior.
  • New York drilled a season-high nine 3-pointers and outscored a team from 3-point range (27-15) for the first time this season.
  • Tina Charles (26 points, 11 rebounds) and Kiah Stokes (11 points, 10 rebounds) made it two Liberty players with a double-double for the first time this year. It was the first-career double-double for Stokes and the fourth of the season for Charles.
  • The Liberty had 26 assists on 30 made baskets, led by Essence Carson who had a season-best seven assists.
  • New York’s bench outscored Chicago’s 34-7 and the Liberty had two bench players (Wiggins, Stokes) score in double figures.
  • The game marked the first game for Chicago’s Cappie Pondexter against her former team. Pondexter played for the New York Liberty from 2010-2014
  • Elena Delle Donne went 10-for-10 from the free throw line, setting a new WNBA record for most consecutive made free throws in a season (58), breaking Lindsay Whalen’s record of 54 in 2009
  • Four different Sky players scored in double figures: Delle Donne (26), Pondexter (19), Vandersloot (14) and Quigley (10)
  • Chicago committed a season-low eight turnovers
  • Delle Donne scored 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, marking her fifth double-double of the season and her ninth 20+ scoring game of the season
  • Courtney Vandersloot recorded her first double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and dishing out a season-high 10 assists
  • With her 10 points tonight, Allie Quigley has scored in double figures in every game since she was inserted into the starting lineup on June 20th


Chicago Sky head coach and general manager Pokey Chatman

(On where the Sky can look to improve…)

“It’s difficult when you’re giving up 91 points to have some success and I’ve talked about this for several games and we understand that we have to continue to get better at it because we exert so much energy making a comeback and making it a one-possession game. We just have to sustain some defensive consistency and then marry that to some rebounding so we can see the fruits of our labor with some players executing and moving the basketball around on offense.”

(On the biggest challenges defensively…)

“I will say this: we did a better job. This is our team that we’re talking about in terms of; we struggled with dribbling penetration early. It felt like the paint points were worse than what it was. Thirty-four to twenty eight, it’s just, we didn’t make them work for those paint points. Some were easy runs to the rim, bury us one pass, we had a couple defensive breakdowns, which, a few will happen in the course of a game. It just can’t happen to the tune of 91. I will tell you this; I‘m not that coach who won’t give the opposition credit. I hate when people do that to me. They had a player that was shooting less than 10% knock down threes. I give them credit. We’re going to always play those percentages.”

(On adjusting to Candice Wiggins…)

“She hit the shots. She’s, like I said, shooting less than 10% so you’re playing the percentages as opposed to Tina [Charles] shooting from 90% in the paint and it just so happened that she hit a couple. We obviously went to some zone and made it a little bit uncomfortable for her. It’s just that when we got those stops, on the other end, we didn’t convert it into buckets for us.”

(On how to improve bench production…)

“I don’t always chart points with bench production for a lot of reasons. There are specific roles that people have but back to your point we need rebounding first. Points will come. If you get offensive rebounds and put backs, that’s the best offense in the world. We’ll start there. It’s a matter of trusting that they’re ready to contribute.”

(On the intensity in the 3rd quarter and the 15-5 run New York went on)…

“It felt like 50-5 to me, to be quite honest with you. I told this to the players even in the first half when we were down 12: I liked our shot chart. We ran some stuff and we got some shots for the right people in the right spots and we had some comfort and we didn’t make them I just wanted to make sure we would get them again but every single time they stepped up and they made a big play.”

Chicago Sky guard/forward Elena Delle Donne

(On defensive challenges…)

“It varies sometimes from game to game. We did a little better on dribble penetration today but then we just weren’t rotating as quickly as we needed to out of double teams. I think that it’s just communication and really starting to trust one another. When we do what the coaches draw up, it works, we get stops and we just have to be there and be able to communicate to one another so that we can trust in the defense. We need to do things hard and aggressively and not be questioning ourselves.”

(On the team’s offensive performance today…)

“I don’t think offense was the problem today, we were getting a lot of great looks that we generally knock down and they just weren’t falling today. Defensively, we would be right there and then give up something and they would be able to stop our run and go on their own run. That was the key.”

Chicago Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot

(On defensive changes…)

“I think defensive rebounding is huge for us. Sometimes, we’ll have 19 seconds of really good defense and then give up “o boards” [offensive rebounds], put back, and 1. That just deflates you as a team and as a defense, and I think we need to start there.”

(On the run early in the third quarter)…

“We came into halftime and discussed what adjustments we needed to make and a good start was important for us coming out of the half. Unfortunately it was deflated after a 15-5 run but to get within two in the third quarter – that’s something positive we can take from this game. We just have to keep going and finish it from there.”

New York head coach Bill Laimbeer

(On the Liberty’s game plan…)

“We played good defense. We’re a solid defensive ball club. We did a good job tonight, overall, I thought. Making them take tough contested shots. We didn’t give them very many offensive rebounds, which is a big key for us. Ball movement on offense was especially important for us; we had 26 assists, that’s a big unheard of number so we really moved the ball well.”

(On the Liberty’s strong shooting…)

“[The Sky] put us into a zone so we put some shooters in there and Candace [Wiggins] hit some big shots, Sugar [Rodgers] hit a couple big shots down the stretch but I thought our bigs inside really worked and passed well.”

(On the Liberty’s game plan against Elena Delle Donne…)

“Our plan was to make her work for everything. We were always in her space. I thought Kiah [Stokes] did a tremendous with her length; Stokes blocked two of [Delle Donne’s] jump shots, which is unheard of for Delle Donne. I think the hard work we put into individually working and guarding her paid off tonight.”

New York center Kiah Stokes

(On guarding Elena Delle Donne…)

“A lot of it was just trying not to make anything easy for her. Obviously she’s been having a great season so if I can make it difficult for her that’s where I want to be. You know, I have pretty long arms so if I keep her in a set that helps keep her in front of me, she got by me a few times but as long as I can make it hard for her I think that’s what my role is.”

(On playing with Stokes and scoring under the basket…)

“When Tina [Charles] gets it and she’s doubled, I can dive. There were times when I missed that and I could have had a few more baskets but in the end it’s just getting used to playing with each other especially with Tina [Charles]. As long as I’m just moving when [Charles] gets doubled and finishing around the basket that’s what I need to do.”

New York Liberty center Tina Charles

(On the keys and execution of tonight’s game plan…)

“In the past two years this organization New York could never beat Chicago, so that was motivation. The keys were focusing on Elena Delle Donne; she’s having a great year and she’s off to a great start. Kiah Stokes, I’m really proud of her because she never wavered. She welcomed the challenge of guarding [Delle Donne] and just knowing if we contained her, we had a great chance of winning.”

(On the team’s rebounding motivation…)

“Keeping [Delle Donne] off the glass and not trying to give up any easy points. If we get the rebounds, we could start our transition and we could get easy buckets from that.”

By the Numbers

Points in the Paint: Liberty 34, Sky 28
Second Chance Points: Liberty 12, Sky 15
Fastbreak Points: Liberty 9, Sky 13
Biggest Lead: Liberty 15, Sky 3
Lead Changes: 5
Times Tied: 6


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