- Associated Press - Sunday, May 15, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Sugar Rodgers has helped New York get off to its best start since 2011.

Rodgers scored a career-best 24 points and Tina Charles added 24 to lead the Liberty to a 79-71 victory over the Dallas Wings on Sunday in the home opener.

The Liberty (2-0) had the game’s first 11 points, including the opening eight by Charles, who added 11 rebounds. They led by seven at the half before the Wings tied it at 43 early in the third quarter. Dallas (1-1) couldn’t ever take the lead and New York scored 13 of the next 17 points to take command. Rodgers hit six of her eight 3-point tries.

“I’m just playing with confidence right now,” Rodgers said. “We knew playing a back-to-back we had to come out with energy.”

The Liberty, who are fourth in the AP WNBA power poll, got a big lift from their reserves who scored 28 points. Newly acquired Amanda Zahui B. had 10 of them against her former team. The Wings traded her to the Liberty on Wednesday for New York’s first round pick next year.

“I played more aggressive today. It felt great to win,” Zahui B. said. “Always want to win against your former teammates.”

Zahui B. said she’s still learning the New York system.

“It just happened so quick. Felt great to be out there. Everyone on our team did really well today. I’m still trying to learn all the plays. Don’t have them all down yet. I’m just jumping into the mix. Everyone’s really supportive and helping me out that makes it so much easier.”

Dallas, which was seventh in the poll, was without Skylar Diggins for the second straight game. She is still recovering from an ACL injury that forced her to miss most of last season.

“It’s the best I’ve felt since the surgery,” Diggins said. “I wish I had more information. I don’t have more information to give you. You know I want to be on the floor playing.”

Coach Fred Williams said he doesn’t want to rush Diggins back from the injury. He said she is game-to-game.

“Still working it out. I have to go by how she feels,” Williams said. “It’s day-by-day with her. Thought I might get a look at her tonight. Being on the road, I want her to be at least 99 percent. It could happen next game being on the floor. Never going to rush an injury for a player to get back.”

Theresa Plaisance and Odyssey Sims had 14 points each to lead Dallas. Courtney Paris added 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Members of the cast of Hamilton sung the national anthem to the delight of the crowd which included NBA commissioner Adam Silver. He played a big role in helping get the WNBA started 20 years ago and was sitting with the league’s new president Lisa Borders.

Also in the crowd was injured Liberty star Epiphanny Prince, who is recovering from an ACL tear suffered over the winter. New York hopes to have her back around the Olympic break. Sitting next to her was Swin Cash, who the Liberty cut earlier this week.

Dallas was without Glory Johnson, who is serving a seven-game suspension for her domestic violence arrest from 2015. Johnson sat out last season because she was pregnant.

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