Sky 69

(9-17, 3-11 away)

Liberty 60

(15-11, 9-4 home)

    7:30 PM ET, August 28, 2008

    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHI 17 17 15 2069
    NY 20 14 18 860

    Top Performers

    Chicago: J. Perkins 19 Pts, 1 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

    New York: E. Carson 19 Pts, 4 Reb, 1 Ast

    Sky-Liberty Preview


    Less than three weeks before the Olympic break, the New York Liberty were clinging to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They headed into the month-long hiatus playing some of their best basketball of the season, though, and are now in contention for the top seed.

    The rested Liberty look to continue their strong play and win their fourth straight game when they host the Chicago Sky on Thursday.

    New York (15-10) was in fourth place in the East on July 8, but won six of seven heading into the break to move into second, a half-game back of Connecticut. The Liberty have not finished the regular season with the best record in the conference since tying with the Sun in 2004.

    Defense has been a key part of New York's turnaround, as its allowed an average of 68.4 points in its last seven games after yielding 85.3 in its previous seven.

    "We know where we're at now," said point guard Loree Moore, who is averaging a career-high 5.1 assists. "We're in a good position ending the season off, so we have to come back ready to go, and I think we're ready to do that."

    The Liberty should come back rested, as no one on the team played in the Beijing Games.

    Team play has been a big reason for New York's climb in the standings. Shameka Christon (16.4 points per game) and Janel McCarville (12.7) are the Liberty's only double-digit scorers.

    "We're going to focus on one game at a time, and just try and get better each day," Christon said. "Not so much as looking at us getting back on a roll, (but) just playing good, solid basketball. We're going to worry about ourselves, take care of the little things."

    This will be the Liberty's first game against the Sky (8-17) this season, and they'll meet twice more in their final eight games. New York split the four-game series with Chicago last year with each team winning twice on its home court.

    The Liberty's play at Madison Square Garden has also been a big part of their recent success, winning six straight there.

    The Sky, meanwhile, have lost seven straight road games and 10 of 11 away from Chicago.

    The Sky went into the break losers of eight of 11, and are 3 1/2 games back of Indiana for the final playoff spot in the East.

    Chicago had one player compete in the Olympics, as rookie Sylvia Fowles helped the U.S. win the gold medal. Fowles, who played in only eight games before the break because of a left knee sprain suffered on June 3, led the U.S. in scoring at Beijing, averaging 13.4 points.

    "I certainly didn't have a break, but I am happy to be back and get things rolling with my teammates," Fowles said. "I didn't have a lot of playing time because of an injury; I am definitely happy to get things rolling and pick up where we left off."