Laimbeer: “We’re not there yet”
After winning their season opener on Friday night, The New York Liberty (1-1) lost their home opener on Saturday to the Chicago Sky (2-0) by a final score of 79-65. Liberty center Tina Charles finished with the lone double-double for the Liberty with 15 points and 12 rebounds, but it was not enough to pace New York to a victory as they were outscored 24-10 in the fourth quarter. Sky forward Elena Delle Donne had 23 points and Jessica Breland finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. While the Liberty made only 36.2% of their field goal attempts, they forced 13 turnovers from the Sky for 15 points and had a defensive rebound percentage of 80.6%, a solid defensive start to the season.
While the Liberty did not win in their return to Madison Square Garden after a three-year hiatus, head coach Bill Laimbeer made no excuses for the Liberty’s defeat as they try to improve upon their 11-23 2013 season. While the team only had one full practice together as Charles and Pondexter finished their seasons overseas, Laimbeer believes the team’s cohesiveness will improve as they have more opportunities to practice together. “Everybody has to know what they’re doing and what they’re executing. We’re not there right now,” said Laimbeer. Liberty veterans Cappie Pondexter and Essence Carson were the only other Liberty players besides Charles who finished in double figures.
While both Pondexter and Carson have spent at least the past four seasons with the team, Charles was acquired this season from a trade at the draft with the Connecticut Sun. Once these three players become accustomed to each other, it is possible that they could continue their offensive success in the cohesive fashion their coach desires for them. After the game, Laimbeer spoke about what the team needs to fix in order to have a successful season moving forward.