If the New York Liberty are to seriously work their way into playoff contention post-All-Star break, they'll need to start playing better on the road.
The Liberty can begin by snapping a three-game road slide Thursday night while trying to extend the Dallas Wings' season-high losing streak to seven in a row.
New York (8-11) has some work to do just to be considered a postseason contender, and it's not expected to be easy since five of its first eight games out of the break are on the road. The Liberty won three straight away from home from June 30-July 5, but entered the break losers of three in a row on the road to fall to 4-6 in that department.
Tina Charles (17.2 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game) had 13 points with 11 rebounds, but New York fell 70-63 at Connecticut leading into the break. Charles and teammate Kia Nurse (15.4 ppg), who injured her elbow against the Sun, both took part in the All-Star festivities in Las Vegas last weekend.
"It was awesome," Nurse, who scored 15 points in the showcase, told the WNBA's official website. "Exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time."
The Wings (5-15), whose best player Skylar Diggins-Smith has yet to make her 2019 debut after giving birth, joined Atlanta as the only two teams that did not have an All-Star representative. Rookie Arike Ogunbowale (14.2 ppg) is probably the closest Dallas has to an All-Star that's played this season.
She scored 14 points and fellow rookie Megan Gustafson had 11 with eight rebounds, but the Wings shot 28.6 percent and committed 18 turnovers en route to an 86-54 loss at Las Vegas on Tuesday night. Dallas fell to 0-10 on the road while losing for the eighth time in nine games overall.
The Wings, whose last victory came against Los Angeles on July 9, will try to avoid a third consecutive home defeat Thursday against the Liberty, who pulled out a 69-68 home win in the teams' first meeting on June 28. New York's Reshanda Gray had 13 points, 11 rebounds and made two free throws with 24.4 seconds left in the game to help the home side prevail.
Ogunbowale scored 10 points in that contest, but was 2 of 23 from the field. According to STATS, her 8.7 shooting percentage was the worst in WNBA history by someone with more than 20 field-goal attempts.
"Nothing you can do about that, that's tough," Ogunbowale, a 33.9-percent shooter, said after that game. "Shots didn't fall."
Teammate Kayla Thornton (10.8 ppg) had 20 points with nine rebounds and Theresa Plaisance added 12 with 10 boards in that June 28 matchup with the Liberty.
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