Surging Liberty win 3 of first 4 on home stand.
By: Sean Hahner and James Decker
The Liberty came into this five game home stand with a 3-10 record, losers of 5 straight and were searching for answers. Laimbeer said “I told the team six, seven games ago that I only know of one way out of this- to come to work every day and play as hard as you can.” After Tuesday night’s 90-74 win against the Tulsa Shock, the Libs are 6-11. While it is still not the prettiest record, there are definitely signs that the Liberty are poised for a run in the second half of the season.
Tina Charles had a monster night with 28 points and 14 boards, Cappie Pondexter finished with 21 points and Anna Cruz went an efficient seven of seven from the field en route to a 17 point effort. Coach Laimbeer stated earlier in the home stand that having a game in which all players play reasonably well on the same night was hard to come by, but he certainly got that tonight.
Laimbeer was still unsure of whether or not this Liberty team could make a run to the postseason: “We’re not where we need to be yet. We’re getting better. If we continue to work this hard every practice and every game, good things will happen”.
Pondexter had a confident mindset after this win, stating: “I think we’ve figured it out for the most part. We just have to keep winning games”. Either way, both Pondexter and Laimbeer feel better about the state of the team than they did prior to this home stand, a positive sign for New York.
One thing that the Liberty have shown improvement in on this home stand that had been a problem throughout the season was smart play. Laimbeer called “losing our brains” an M.O of the team. New York has cut down on their turnovers on this home stand and were able to put up their second highest scoring output of the season. The bench and crowd were also filled with energy throughout the game, and despite a strong second half showing from Shock star Skylar Diggins, New York was able to close the game with a flurry of great offensive plays that had the bench and the Garden crowd on its feet.
The bottom line for this Liberty team is that if they give a collective mental effort on both ends of the court and are able to get consistent performances from their stars, this a team that absolutely has the potential to make a run at the postseason.
The Liberty will look to continue their already season high two game winning streak when they take on the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx on Sunday, a game that will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2. Laimbeer called the game against Minnesota “a good measuring stick” as the the Liberty will get a chance to really gain some momentum as they look to close out the homestand 4-1 before hitting the road.
To hear comments from Laimbeer and Pondexter, click on the links below.