An entertaining battle between the surprising Dallas Wings and identity-seeking New York Liberty remained undecided late into the fourth quarter, when the Liberty managed to outlast the Wings, 93-89.
Here’s what we learned Friday night at The Garden.
A Tina Charles explosion
The Dallas Wings really don’t have anyone to guard Charles, and it showed. Glory Johnson is a solid defender, but undersized for the task. The Wings are missing Courtney Paris due to a knee injury. And Liz Cambage, as of now, is merely a player whose rights belong to the franchise, but has not yet been signed.
Charles didn’t come out taking every shot the way she did Tuesday night against the Sparks, and the result seemed to be a more energetic Charles into the fourth quarter. A three-pointer she sank with less than three minutes to go gave her the career high mark, and that she had the legs for it spoke volumes about how judiciously the Liberty used her.
The real Kiah Stokes stood up
Object of frustration from Bill Laimbeer, early performances off her pace—Kiah Stokes had gone from the multi-year rock of the Liberty to the subject of questions for the first time in her career, really.
Stokes keeps playing like she did Friday night, those questions will disappear quickly. Displaying the bounciness of her first two seasons, Stokes limited Johnson to just seven points, while finishing around the basket and grabbing extra possessions for New York. With 13 points and 15 rebounds, she provided the necessary low post counterweight to Charles that has made the Liberty so dangerous over the past two seasons.
No rookie fear
Out of a timeout, trailing 89-84, just under a minute to go, where did the Dallas Wings go? An iso to Kaela Davis.
Fred Williams has five rookies, and he isn’t afraid to use them. Davis took it to the basket, scored, drew the foul and sank the free throw. Both she and Allisha Gray finished with double figures in points.