Saturday, July 11th, 2020

No Delle Donne for Sky and Liberty rout Chicago, 84-63

Published on August 12, 2015

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Team recap:

Epiphanny Prince scored 22 points and Kiah Stokes recorded her second-career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds as the New York Liberty handled the Chicago Sky 84-63 on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. With the win, New York improved to 15-6 overall and extended its current win streak to three, opening up a 2.5 game lead over the Washington Mystics for first place in the Eastern Conference. The Liberty improved to 8-2 at The Garden and have won five-straight on its home court dating back to late June.

Chicago (14-10), the league’s top scoring team at 84.2 ppg, was without leading scorer Elena Delle Donne, who did not dress due to an ankle injury suffered in the Sky’s win over Phoenix on Sunday afternoon.

New York boasts the best defensive numbers in the league, ranking first in the WNBA in points allowed and defensive field goal percentage, and held Chicago to 63 points for a second-straight game, after picking up a 77-63 win on the road Friday night.

Outside of a few moments early in the second half, the outcome of Tuesday night’s game rarely seemed in doubt.

A 12-4 run in the first quarter, capped off by four-straight points from Swin Cash, helped New York build a 16-8 lead fewer than seven minutes into the action. After Brittany Boyd found Carolyn Swords for a layup seconds before the buzzer sounded, the Liberty led 26-17 through 10 minutes of play.

The lead expanded to as many as 14 in the second quarter and New York’s halftime cushion was nine, but Chicago stormed out of the gate early in the third. The Sky scored eight of the first 10 points of the quarter, making it a one-possession game, 47-44 on a Cappie Pondexter drive to the rim.

That was as close as things would get.  The Liberty rattled off 10 unanswered and never saw its lead dip down to single digits again.  A span of just over 90 seconds saw Prince bury a 16-footer, Tanisha Wright sink a short jumper and Essence Carson deliver a 3-pointer to cap a 7-0 spurt that made it 54-44.

Led by Stokes’ 13 points, New York scored 38 bench points, compared to just 13 for the Sky. New York outscored Chicago 38-28 in the paint and continued its hot outside shooting against Chicago, nailing six 3-pointers, tied for the second most of the year; in three games against the Sky this season the Liberty is averaging 7.0 3-pointers per game.

New York is back in action on Friday night when it will face the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun. The Sky host Seattle on Friday.

New York head coach Bill Laimbeer

On tonight’s game

“We came out without any emotion and no energy defensively. I told the starters that I would go right to the bench unless they picked it up. We got a couple good baskets and then it snowballed from there. They missed some easy looks… It was a test of wills to see if they could get back in the game.  They had some good looks, but they just missed them…. I wasn’t surprised we held them to 41% shooting. They were 50% in the first half so they must have shot 32% in the second half. That’s how we play. That’s how we win basketball games – with intensity on defense. We didn’t have it in the first half but we definitely had it in the second. “

On New York Liberty 

“At the start of this year I said I have no clue what we had. I knew we were going to have really good chemistry and I knew that we would have people who were willing to play hard. I didn’t know how all of the pieces would come together. Kiah Stokes is the glue for us… She is always in great defensive position. Always! I knew Tanisha [Wright] was a great leader but I never coached her. She’s a phenomenal leader. She’s our floor general. I knew Epiphany [Prince] could score… Overall we made some fine moves… I think we are just New York. We are solid defensively and if we can find ways to score then watch out for us.”

New York forward Swin Cash

On how the team stops complacency from creeping in:

“It is the veteran’s job to make sure we keep this team from getting complacent. Tanisha [Wright] and I keep telling the team to stay in the moment. As long as keep working hard everything else will take care of itself.”

On what got them going after the Sky cut the double-digit halftime lead down to three in the 3rd quarter

“We knew they were going to make a run. Even though they played without Elena [Delle Donne] they still have good players who have pride in their game. We took a breather, took a step back, and started playing New York [Liberty] basketball to re-establish the lead”

On the team stepping up without Tina [Charles] scoring double digit points

“That is the great thing about this team, we have a number of players who can score. It is great for Tina [Charles] because she can have an off-night and not feel the need to press because she can depend on her teammates to pick up the scoring load.”

New York guard Epiphanny Prince

On how the team keeps the momentum going

“We keep working on us. We feel like we are clicking and playing good basketball right now so we just need to continue to work hard and get better every day.”

On how it felt to play in front of Coach [Vivian] Stringer

“It was great. I love Coach Stringer. [Tonight] she told me that she is proud of me and that made me feel good”

Chicago head coach Pokey Chatman 

On tonight’s game

“We got down early and we had an opportunity to come back at the half. We made a decent run and cut it to a two-possession game but we weren’t able to sustain anything. I just told the team, we had a span of about four and a half minute where we got really good shots, but they didn’t fall. What we can’t let the lack of offense affect us on the defensive end.”

On the next match-up against Seattle

“We need to get back and watch some video on some areas where we broke down. We were a little better in certain areas, but I think our ability to rebound the basketball and keep people out the paint will help us. We need to get ready for a team who’s record might not look similar to ours, but we have to get ready to bounce back and get stops and get ourselves in offensive transition.”

Chicago guard Cappie Poindexter

On New York Liberty

“Playing at home it is all about the energy, and they capitalized on that from the beginning of the game. Epiphanny Prince set the tone for them; she made some crucial shots and everyone else kind of followed suit. I thought we punched back in the third quarter, made some adjustments and we didn’t knock a few shots down and I think they capitalized on top of that, trailing ever since then. It was definitely a learning experience, but the show doesn’t stop there.”

On Elena Delle Donne

“She is a key contributor to the team and it was the first time we played without her this season. So I am sure it was a little of an adjustment for everybody to play without her. We depend on her for a lot of the scoring load, and at the end of the day I think we are a solid enough team to win against anyone in the league.”

Chicago guard Courtney Vandersloot

On Elena Delle Donne

“Nobody can replace Elena Della Donne, so we needed a lot of people to step up. That is why I was trying to distribute a little bit, and get a lot of people some open looks; just to be aggressive because we are missing 20+ points and 10+ rebounds, but we needed some people to step up and it just wasn’t the night tonight.”

On New York Liberty

“You have to give credit to New York, but I do not think they have seen our best yet. We get to play them one more time fortunately and we will be ready”.

By the Numbers

Points in the Paint: Sky 28, Liberty 38
Second Chance Points: Sky 6, Liberty 10
Fastbreak Points: Sky 9, Liberty 12
Biggest Lead: Sky 2, Liberty 21
Lead Changes: 2
Times Tied: 2


 

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