The New York Liberty will resume their pursuit of the WNBA's Eastern Conference crown when they visit the San Antonio Stars in the first game after a month-long Olympic break on Friday at the AT&T Center.
New York (18-8) is sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings, 4 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Atlanta Dream. The Liberty had won six of seven games before dropping an 82-70 setback to the Indiana Fever on July 21 in the last game before the Olympic break.
San Antonio (5-18) is last in the Western Conference, 15 1/2 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Sparks. The Stars dropped five in a row before the break, losing those contests by an average of 15.4 points per contest.
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New York has already beaten San Antonio twice this season. The Liberty led by one entering the fourth quarter before pulling away for a 90-75 victory on June 11 in San Antonio. New York also posted a 75-65 win on July 10 at Madison Square Garden.
Tina Charles, who helped Team USA capture its sixth consecutive gold medal at the Summer Olympics, had 21 points and 10 rebounds for New York in the first victory over San Antonio. She was held to 10 points and four rebounds in the second contest.
Charles leads in the WNBA in scoring and rebounding, averaging 21.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game with 14 double-doubles this season. She is one of the leading candidates for the WNBA's MVP award.
The Liberty's impressive bench will be bolstered further by the return of Epiphanny Prince, who missed the first 26 games of the season with a knee injury. Prince, who was a second-team All-WNBA selection after averaging 15 points per game last season, is active for the first time this season and could make her debut against the Stars.
San Antonio is led by Kayla McBride, who is eighth in the WNBA in scoring at 17.1 points per game.