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Historic night for Tina Charles in Liberty’s loss

Liberty center Tina Charles walks to the sideline against

Liberty center Tina Charles walks to the sideline against the Sky at Madison Square Garden on Friday, July 14, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer is so accustomed to watching Tina Charles produce that he expects to glance at the scoreboard and see his star threatening to get another double-double every night.

What he has not seen much lately is offensive consistency from his backcourt trio of Shavonte Zellous, Epiphanny Prince and Sugar Rodgers.

That trio shot 11-for-40 from the floor and totaled 28 points as the Liberty lost to the last-place Chicago Sky, 78-68, on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

The Liberty’s defeat overshadowed Charles’ historic night. The 6-4 forward scored 23 points, and her 19 rebounds gave her 1,089 for her Liberty career. She passed Tari Phillips (1,077) for the top spot on the franchise list and moved into eighth in the WNBA (2,499).

“To me, I just feel like I’m doing my job,” Charles said. “Just another day at the job. That’s what my job description entails.”

“She’s 20 and 10 every night, on average,” Laimbeer said. “She’s been that way her whole career. You can’t ask for more. Having Tina Charles as a weapon offensive-wise will keep us in games. Now we just need to get a little more clicking from other players.”

Since starters Prince and Kia Vaughn returned from the FIBA EuroBasket tournament in late June, the Liberty (8-9) has lost five of six. Zellous said it has taken the team time to regain the chemistry lost from June’s first two weeks.

“I just think it comes with time and patience,” she said. “While they were gone, we built chemistry. When we lose two [players], everyone else had to step up. For the most part in June, we did that. So now that we have everybody, it’s just be patient, and we’ve just got to have the time.”

New York Sports