July 10, 2014

The New York Liberty have not opened a season with three straight wins in almost a decade.

It's been even longer since the Los Angeles Sparks accomplished that feat.

Both have the chance to do so Saturday night when the Liberty try for their first four-game winning streak over the visiting Sparks.

Paced by star Tina Charles and fourth-year guard Sugar Rodgers, New York is aiming to go 3-0 for the first time since beginning the 2007 season with five consecutive victories.

"We're just playing hard," Charles said. "It's just hard work you're seeing. We know our roles. It's great."

Charles and Rodgers have combined for 91 of New York's 166 points, and both scored 24 in Sunday's 79-71 victory over Dallas. Charles pulled down 11 rebounds for a second straight contest to record her 111th double-double in her 200th game.

Rodgers, who never averaged more than 8.1 points in her first three seasons, has gone 9 of 16 from 3-point range. She led the Liberty with 41 3-pointers in 2015.

"I'm not surprised, I knew I was capable of doing this it was just about the opportunity," Rodgers told the WNBA's official website. "I have the opportunity now, and I'm just taking advantage of it.

"I go hard at practice, sprinting the floor. Just always in game mode."

Rodgers scored a then career-high 23 points in a 79-70 home win over Los Angeles on June 28.

New York took both 2015 meetings to sweep the season series for the first time since 2010. However, the Liberty didn't have to deal with Candace Parker in either matchup.

Parker will likely go head-to-head with Charles, who scored 20 when the pair last squared off during the Sparks' most recent win in the series, 68-54 at Madison Square Garden on July 11, 2014. Parker had 14 points in that contest.

"L.A. presents some tough matchups," New York coach Bill Laimbeer said. "Candace Parker is hard to matchup in herself."

Looking to open with three straight victories for the first time since going 9-0 in 2003, the Sparks totaled 193 points while winning each of the first two by 30.

Kristi Toliver went 5 of 6 from beyond the arc to finish with 19 points in Friday's 97-67 rout of Washington. Parker, who opened with 34 points against Seattle last week, scored eight but added nine rebounds and six assists.

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