Tina Charles’ moves and those of her Liberty teammates’ were on display on the court Tuesday night and later this year, those moves will be coming to video game consoles around the country.
Charles scored 26 points and Epiphanny Prince hit the go-ahead jump shot with under two minutes left to lead the Liberty to an 81-76 win over the Indiana Fever at Madison Square Garden. It was a glimpse of what gamers will be able to see in the future, as WNBA teams and players will make their video game debut in “NBA Live 18” when it comes out in December.
“I actually play PlayStation and I’m going to get the new NBA Live when it comes out,” said All-Star Sugar Rodgers, who had two points. “It’s going to be amazing just to see myself. That’s like a dream come true. You get the video games when they come out and play with the guys, so to be able to play with the women, it’s exciting.”
“I think it shows how much this league has grown,” said Kiah Stokes, who scored 12 points. “To be recognized, it’s great. Who doesn’t want to see themselves in a video game? It’ll be unreal. I never thought this would’ve happened as a kid.”
Charles has been putting up video game-type numbers all season, and came into Tuesday as the league’s fourth-leading scorer, averaging 19.9 points per game. She was 8-for-17 from the field and 9-for-9 at the free throw line against the Fever, helping the Liberty improve to 13-12 and snap a two-game losing streak.
The Liberty led 46-40 at halftime, but Indiana (9-18) cut its deficit to 61-60 heading into the fourth quarter and led 64-61 two minutes into the final period.
North Babylon product Bria Hartley (13 points) tied the game for the Liberty at 68 with 4:31 left and Charles passed out of a double-team to find a wide-open Stokes, whose layup made it 70-68 on the next Liberty possession.
Candice Dupree (14 points) tied the game for the Fever on its ensuing trip, but after a series of empty possessions, Prince hit a long two with 1:53 left to put the Liberty back in front.
Charles, Hartley, Stokes and Prince iced the game with makes at the free-throw line in the final 44 seconds.
Shavonte Zellous added 16 points for the Liberty, while Erica Wheeler had 33 for the Fever.