NEW YORK (AP) Epiphanny Prince had been waiting for a chance to play at Madison Square Garden for the New York Liberty.
She had an impressive home debut, scoring 13 points to help the Liberty rout San Antonio 84-68 on Wednesday afternoon in front of 18,617 fans on camp day – the most at MSG in 13 years.
”It was great playing at home,” said Prince, who grew up in Brooklyn. ”I looked up in the stands and saw my family along with 18,000 other fans.”
Prince missed the team’s first 10 games while playing for Russia in the EuroBasket tournament. New York was able to go 6-4 without her, but she’s made a big difference in her return, helping the Liberty win two of their three games.
”I think our scoring and our shooting will be a big lift with Epiphanny Prince in the game,” coach Bill Laimbeer said. ”She is a solid guard and she is a quiet assassin. She’ll make a lot of big shots. She was a quality pickup for us. We have a good solid depth to our basketball team and she’s one to account for that.”
Essence Carson scored 16 points off the bench, the first time she didn’t start this season for New York. This was the Liberty’s first win over San Antonio since 2011.
Tina Charles, announced as an All-Star Game starter Tuesday, added 14 points and Sugar Rodgers had 13 for New York (8-5).
Danielle Robinson reached double figures for the fourth time in five games, leading the Stars with 18 points. Sophia Young-Malcom and Danielle Adams had 11 points each and Dearica Hamby added 10 for the Stars (3-11), who had just nine players available. Double-digit scorers Kayla McBride and Jia Perkins sat out again with injuries.
”We knew we were going to be young, but we did not know we were going to be injured,” Stars coach Dan Hughes said. ”You take your two leading scorers (McBride and Perkins), and never have had Alex Montgomery this season.
”We thought that we would have a chance about 10 -15 games in to kind of take a young core and move it to a certain spot, but the problem has obviously been injuries has gotten in the way of developing that core.”
San Antonio is still sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference.
The Liberty led 39-30 at the half. The Stars cut the deficit to four points in the third quarter, but the Liberty built a 20-point lead in the fourth, helped by eight points from Rodgers.