The New York Liberty were able to outscore the Seattle Storm 24-13 in the fourth quarter to earn themselves an 84-83 road win.
The bulk of that fourth quarter dominance came behind Tina Charles who scored 11 of her game-high 26 points in the final frame. Charles would not be denied late in the game. A sign of a true veteran leader willing her Liberty squad to one of their more impressive wins so far this season. Kia Nurse scored 24 to go along for a combined 50 points between the two.
.@tinacharles31 (26 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast) went full beast mode in the Q4 w/ 11 pts! ????
— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) July 3, 2019
Seattle finished with five players in double figures. Mercedes Russel continued to impress in her second season with the Storm leading them with 19 points on 7-8 shooting from the field. Natasha Howard added 15 and Sami Whitcomb added 13.
The win marks the third in a row for the Liberty and arguably one of the best wins of the season so far. But what are they doing well during this stretch? h
In the first 10 games of the season, the Liberty was giving up an average of 86.7 points per game to their opponents. During this current win streak, New York has allowed only 69.6 points per game. That's close to a 20-point differential in terms of what they are doing on the defensive end of the floor.
They also ranked third in steals per game in the league averaging 8.5. To me, the defensive end of the floor is the difference maker in this teams' ability to continue to string wins together.
New York currently ranks third in scoring among all WNBA teams averaging 79.5 points per game. Their scoring no longer relies just on the shoulders of Charles, but we have seen a major increase of production across the board for this squad with four players currently averaging double figures. A key difference maker has been the production of Kia Nurse who averaged nine points in her rookie debut last season and is currently second on the team in scoring averaging 16 points per game.
You can't say enough about the play of Amanda Zahui B (who is currently representing the Swedish National Team). Zahui B brings a presence and grit to this team that doesn't always show up in the stat sheet, but offensively she's been a force and valuable weapon currently averaging 11.4 points per game. Rookie Asia Durr continues to find her stride and confidence offensively averaging 12.1 points so far in her young career.
They're also sharing the basketball more as we've seen an increase in their assist production averaging 18.5 per game. Those assist numbers rank third in the league are a direct reflection of the offensive weapons this team does now have.
Listen, I still consider the Liberty as one of the most dangerous teams in the league this year. Not necessarily from a contender standpoint, that's not my point, but from an ability. They have proven to us that they can hang with anyone in the league any given night. They have also proven they can be beaten by 35. But the truth us, all but two of the Liberty's seven losses have come by single digits.
The Liberty advance to 6-7 on the season and are currently on a three-game win streak tied for eighth place in the league.
Next up, the Liberty head to Phoenix to take on the Mercury on Friday, July 5th at 10:00 pm ET.
The Seattle Storm now sit at 8-7 on the season. They host the Atlanta Dream this Friday as well at 10:00 pm ET.