NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 3, 2016 – The New York Liberty snapped a three-game losing streak by cruising to a 91–59 win over the Indiana Fever on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. This was the first meeting between the conference rivals since the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals when the Fever won the finals two games of the series and played for the WNBA title. ““It’s a much different team than last year, so you can’t really even focus on what happened last year.” said Fever forward All-Star Tamika Catchings who is playing in her final WNBA season. “They came out with a chip on their shoulder. We came out a little bit – I wouldn’t say comfortable – we just weren’t ready.”
For the Liberty (3-3), it was the largest margin of victory since a 38 point win over the Phoenix Mercury on August 14, 2010, and the biggest ever win in the all-time series with Indiana (3-4); the previous mark was 19 points (74-55) set on June 25, 2002. “The energy level and the intensity level was what we were looking for.” Liberty Coach Bill Laimbeer said after the game. “We have a lot of work ahead of us; if we bring that kind of energy and effort every night, we’ll be okay.”
Sugar Rodgers led New York with a game-high 21 points, burying 5-of-8 3-point attempts. Tina Charles finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, narrowly missing out on what would have been her sixth-straight double-double to start the season. Facing her former team for the first time, Shavonte Zellous chipped in 13 points to round out the Liberty’s double-digit scorers.
It was a somewhat uncharacteristic 3-point barrage that carried New York to the large final margin. The Liberty nailed 6-of-8 attempts from deep in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Fever 31-13 during the final period.
Shoni Schimmel came off the bench to hit both of her 3-point shots in the fourth, and Zellous and Brittany Boyd also connected from deep. For the game, New York sunk a season-high 10 threes.
The Liberty started strong, closing the first quarter on a big run to take a 26-20 lead, shooting 63.2 percent from the field as a team.
The second quarter featured more of the same, a strong surge heading into the locker room. New York clamped down defensively, holding Indiana without a field goal over the final 3:16 of the half, gradually building a 42-29 lead. Zellous capped things off by drawing a foul with 0.1 on the clock on a desperation 3-point attempt, sinking all three shots at the line.
The lead ballooned to 50-33 early in the third quarter after Rodgers made a nice drive to the basket. The Fever would pull back within 11, but could not get any closer down the stretch.
New York will begin a three-game road trip on Sunday afternoon when it faces the Seattle Storm at Key Arena. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. (ET).