The Liberty look to learn and grow after a 60-44 loss to the Connecticut Sun in their preseason home opener at Madison Square Garden. In front of a thunderous crowd packed with thousands of students on School Day the Liberty showcased their younger players and new faces as veterans and star players, Cappie Pondexter, Tina Charles, and Plenette Pierson did not dress to play. Essence Carson led all scorers with 11 points. The resilient guard continues her comeback from last seasons ACL tear by chipping in at all positions and providing leadership for the team.
The Liberty held the Sun to just 32% shooting from the field but only managed to connect on 26% of their own shots. The Liberty were outrebounded 43-33 and gave up 28 turnovers. Liberty players were aggressive attacking the rim and visited the charity stripe 21 times.
Without three of their tops scorers and with no returning point guards on the court, the Liberty struggled for offense. Spanish guard Anna Cruz received 22 minutes at the lead position and displayed enough speed to slash the paint and a few successful flashes of organizing the floor. Admittedly, Cruz is a pass first point guard, however, head coach Bill Laimbeer has asked her to look for her shot more aggressively. Cruz quick development may prove critical as the Liberty are without last seasons backups at the lead guard position. Leilani Mitchell decided to take the season off and Kamiko Williams tore her ACL at practice earlier in the week.
The Atlanta Dream will play their first preseason game this Sunday versus New York. They will likely be without the play of stars Angel McCoughtry and Sancho Lyttle, both of whom just completed their overseas seasons in Turkey. The Dream sport multiple new faces on their roster highlighted by proven veterans Swin Cash and Matee Ajavon as well as first round pick Shoni Schimmel, the gutsy shooting guard out of Louisville. The Dreams biggest task will be learning and executing the new system put in by first year head coach, Michael Cooper.
KEYS FOR THE LIBERTY
Improvement at PG.
There needs to be a reliable back-up option for Cappie at the lead guard position.
Take care of the ball.
The Liberty were aggressive on the drive, however, they need to make better decisions once they get feet in the paint. 28 turnovers are usually too many to overcome.