The two most prolific scorers in the WNBA collide Friday night, when reigning MVP Elena Delle Donne and the Chicago Sky host Tina Charles and the first-place New York Liberty at Allstate Arena.
Charles leads the league in scoring at 22.8 points and is second in rebounding at 9.6 per game. She was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for June. It's the second straight month Charles has won the honor, and third time in last four months.
Delle Donne is second in the WNBA in scoring, behind Charles, averaging 21.4 points per game. Delle Donne is coming off a season-high 38-point performance in a loss to the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday. She scored 25 points in the first half and hit 10 consecutive shots during one stretch of the game.
The Sky lost six of eight overall, including an 80-79 loss to the Liberty on June 24. Delle Donne had 31 points in the loss. Charles had 21 points for New York in the win.
Neither team's star is receiving a lot of help from their supporting cast. Veteran guard Cappie Pondexter (12.5 points per game) is the only other Sky player averaging double figures in points, alongside Delle Donne. New York's Sugar Rodgers is the only other Liberty player averaging double figures (16.1 points per game), alongside Charles.
The Liberty (13-6) have won three of four and are coming off a 78-74 win over the Seattle Storm on Wednesday. They have won nine of 11 overall to climb into first-place in the Eastern Conference, 3.5 games ahead of second place Atlanta.
The win over the Seattle was New York coach Bill Laimbeer's 199th career win. He's looking to become the sixth WNBA coach to reach 200 wins for his career.
New York boasts the third best record in the WNBA, behind only the Los Angeles Sparks and defending-champion Minnesota. The top eight teams regardless of conference will make the playoffs this season.
The Liberty have won four of the past five meetings with the Sky.