Liberty host Dream in matinee (Jun 6, 2017)

BY AP • June 6, 2017

Significant awards are nothing new for New York Liberty center Tina Charles.

Charles was honored for a big week on Monday, named WNBA Eastern Conference player of the week for the 22nd time in her eight-year career, after averaging 25.7 points in three games.

Now Charles and the third-place Liberty (4-3) hope to move up in the WNBA Eastern Conference standings with a victory over Atlanta in a matinee game on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

The visiting Dream (4-2) counter with a big gun of their own in the season's first meeting with the Liberty.

Guard Tiffany Hayes, named WNBA player of the month for May, comes in with a run of 15 straight games in double figures and a 20.5-point scoring average.

"It's definitely an honor to have player of the month," Hayes, a onetime UConn star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, said in a video this week. "It's the first time in my career -- this is my sixth season -- so I'm definitely blessed to be able to say I've been player of the month at least one time in my life. I attribute that to my teammates and coaches as well."

Charles, meanwhile, stepped up with a career-high 36 points last Friday as the Liberty snapped a two-game losing streak with a 93-89 victory over the Dallas Wings.

"It was a win we needed, and (Charles) willed us down the stretch and made some really big buckets," Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer told reporters. "But that's what her job is. She'll tell you the same thing if you ask her. Even though she had a career high, it's just one 'W' in the season and there are more games to be had."

New York followed with 88-72 victory over Phoenix on Sunday at Madison Square Garden as Charles had a relatively modest 16 points.

Last week's Dallas victory snapped a two-game losing streak that had included a 90-75 home loss to the Los Angeles Sparks on May 30 and an 87-71 defeat at Seattle four days earlier.

New York has won two straight against the Dream, both wins coming last summe. The Liberty own a 24-11 all-time series lead and are 14-4 at Madison Square Garden.

Charles scored 18 points in the last meeting, an 86-62 victory on July 13, 2016, in New York. Hayes collected 12 points.


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