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Charles' scintillating performance leads Liberty past Sky

Tina Charles' dominating performance of 26 points and 11 rebounds were too much for the Chicago Sky, as the New York Liberty beat them for the first time in three seasons.

Photo by NBAE/Getty Images

Tina Charles's double-double performance soured Cappie Pondexter's first game against her old team, where she played five seasons. Charles scored 26 points with 11 rebounds, and the Chicago Sky defense gave up over 85 points for the second consecutive game.

Chicago remains the highest-scoring team in the league, but only rank ahead of the Indiana Fever in opponent points per game.

The first quarter for New York was all Tina Charles; the Liberty center single-handedly kept pace with the Sky, scoring 11 of her team's first 13 points.

After Elena Delle Donne's layup to give Chicago a 25-23 lead with 1:07 remaining in the first quarter, the Sky went on a scoring drought. New York went on a 13-0 run spanning from the last minute of the first until almost halfway into the second quarter, when Betnijah Laney's 21-foot jumper cut the Liberty lead to 9.

The second half started with the Liberty protecting a 12-point lead. Courtney Vandersloot hit a jumper from 21 feet out to bring the Sky within 3, but after Sugar Rodgers' three put the Liberty back up 56-50 on the next possession, That three-point margin would end up being the closest Chicago would get the rest of the game.

Pokey Chatman knows that it is hard to win games when playing from behind. She said the Sky need to improve on their defensive effort because they "exert so much energy making a comeback and making it a one-possession game. We just have to sustain some defensive consistency and then marry that to some rebounding so we can see the fruits of our labor" with regards to their offensive firepower.

Elena Delle Donne pitched in with a double-double herself, scoring 26 while pulling down 13 rebounds. While she managed another perfect game from the free throw line, she shot 8 for 20 from the field; knocking down shots was an issue for the entire Sky team, who shot 39 percent.

Delle Donne was satisfied with the shots the team was getting, "I don't think offense was the problem today; we were getting a lot of great looks that we generally knock down, and they just weren't falling today."

On the other hand, Candace Wiggins' shots were falling. She shot 5-7 from the field, with all five coming from behind the three-point arc. The Liberty shot well as a team from three, making nine out of 19. Head coach Bill Laimbeer attributed a lot of New York's success to good passing.

"Ball movement on offense was especially important for us," Laimbeer said. "We had 26 assists. That's a big unheard of number, so we really moved the ball well."

The Liberty improve to 6-4 on the season. Their reward for the win will be rest; they do not play again until a matchup with Washington on July 9th. Chicago falls to .500, and they will try to avoid losing three games in a row for the first time this season against the Sun tomorrow.