Tina Charles het did it all season.
In her 11th WNBA season, the matched Eastern Conference Player of the Month is compiling historical offensive numbers, with the Washington Mystics, following their injury-plagued season.
However, she has yet to return to New York. It happens Saturday afternoon when the Mystics meet the Liberty at 13:00 ET in Barclays Center.
Before joining the free agency at the Mystics during 2020, Charles spent five seasons at the Liberty. While she achieved a lot of individual success during her success with her hometown team, Charles and the Liberty escaped the hoped-for team success. Based on the way she bullied the Liberty earlier this season, Charles was determined to send a message to her former employer.
Can we expect more of the same on Saturday?
A favorable showdown, as well as any extra motivation, would have to put Charles off to unleash another great game against the Liberty. New York remains the league’s weakest domestic defense, allowing 38.6 points per game. Although Charles has expanded her offensive game, she could go on to work for another five seasons in the space she owned for the Liberty. Her field goal effort of 6.8 per game within five feet of the basket is the fourth most in the WNBA. She takes these efforts to an above-average 67.6 percent.
Charles displayed the full complement of her offensive repertoire in her late-May extinction of the Liberty, who hit four three-pointers to give along with her 16 points in the paint. She also picked up six free throws on the line.
If Charles goes on, things will not be lost for the Liberty. The Mystics are also not strong, with a defense rating of 104.5. Poor three-point shooting luck partly explains Washington’s defense problems. Although the Mystics allow only 21.2 attempts per game, opponents shoot 40.7 percent from behind the arc. The Liberty, led by Sami Whitcomb, has the potential to catch fire from the depths. Whitcomb shoots 45.5 percent from long range and is tied for the league lead with 46 three-pointers. Per game, she shoots 5.9 tries. Last weekend, the Atlanta Dream definitely felt the full force of her three-point shot, as she seven 3-points buried.
In short, expect a barn burner on Saturday afternoon in Barclays.
The other Saturday afternoon action does not inspire as many intrigues. Despite a somewhat sloppy game, the Connecticut Sun (12-5) on Thursday night took care of business against the Indiana Fever (1-16), powered by new All-Star Brionna Jones’ career highlight 34 points. The superior Sun must dance again in the second chance.
Saturday night there is another rematch, with the Phoenix Mercury (7-8) hosting the Minnesota Lynx (8-7) for the second time in four days. In their win Wednesday, the Lynx benefited from better shooting, hitting 50.7 percent of their shots off the field and 46.2 percent of their three-point attempts. With the exception of Brittney Griner, the Mercury struggled to put the ball in the basket. If the shooting luck does not shift, Phoenix must find a way to generate offense outside Griner.
Indiana Fever (1-16) vs. Connecticut Sun (12-5)
When: Saturday 3 July at 13:00 ET
Where: Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, IN
How to watch: NBA TV, NESN, koors.wnba.com of SN
Key to the match: This past week, ahead of the June 30 deadline for contract guarantees, the fever released Lauren Cox, the No. 3 pick in the 2020 draft. To observers, it appears that the move symbolizes Indiana’s developmental function. The Fever filled Cox’s rankings with Chelsey Perry, who started the season on the Indy series after being selected with the number 26 selection in this year’s draft. In her first WNBA action since the opening weekend, Perry played nearly nine minutes and scored four points on five shots. Since Tamika Catchings, general manager, and Fever buyer Perry have outperformed Cox, it will be interesting to see if she makes a permanent place in the rotation.
Fever Injury Report: Jessica Breland (questionable; knee)
Sun Injury Report: Alyssa Thomas (out of season; Achilles)
Highlight: Chelsey Perry shows off her jumper
New York Liberty (8-9) vs. Washington Mystics (7-9)
When: Saturday 3 July at 13:00 ET
Where: Barclays Center Brooklyn, NY
How to watch: CBS Sport Network
Key to the match: As discussed above, Sami Whitcomb was a valuable addition to the Liberty. In contrast, the former West Coast sniper who introduced the Mystics – Sydney Wiese – has yet to find her niche with her new team. Wiese was an elite shooter and a significant floor distance for the Los Angeles Sparks last season. He finishes 2020 with an effective field goal percentage of 64 percent. This season, her effective field goal percentage dropped to 44.6 percent. Wiese is converting less than 30 percent of her nearly four three-pointers per game. Like almost all the members of the Mystics, Wiese had problems with a sprained ankle that could still contribute to her gunfights. For all the glamor of Tina Charles, the Mystics are at their best as the entire team is bombarded from the depths. If Wiese rediscovered her stroke, the Mystics would be able to approach their attacking climax more frequently.
Liberty injuries report: Rebecca Allen (out; foot), Natasha Howard (out; knee); Jocelyn Willoughby (season out; Achilles)
Mystics injury report: Natasha Cloud (doubtful; single), Myisha Hines-Allen (out; knee), Erica McCall (indefinite; knee), Elena Delle Donne (out; back)
Highlight: Sydney Wiese knocks out the three-pointer
Phoenix Mercury (7-8) vs. Minnesota Lynx (8-7)
When: Saturday 3 July at 22:00 ET
Where: Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix, AZ
How to watch: Facebook
Key to the match: In her first match due to a chest injury, Diana Taurasi was in BOK form, which dropped a season high of 25 points. She follows that up with her weakest scoring of the season, with just 10 points on 14 shots. In her advanced basketball age, it’s not surprising that Taurasi, on a game-to-game basis, is not as steady as the main version of herself. Despite her serious shootings, however, there were some positive aspects to Taurasi’s actions on Wednesday. She scored a season-high seven assists and netted seven free throws. A Phoenix offense that is often unequal, Taurasi needs to maximize her play and aggression if her shot does not fall.
Mercury Injury Report: Bria Hartley (indefinite; knee)
Lynx Injury Report: Air Force (indefinite; thumb), Natalie Achonwa (indefinite; knee), Rennia Davis (season out; foot)