The New York Liberty visit the Indiana Fever on Friday, September 13th, at 7:00pm ET.
The Liberty (11-21) are coming off of an 80-76 loss at home to the Phoenix Mercury on September 10th. The Liberty gave a valiant effort in a game in which hobbled All-Star Cappie Pondexter did not play. Veteran Katie Smith was honored with a pregame retirement ceremony at half court. Smith, the WNBAs second all time leading scorer, put on a show leading the Liberty with 17 points. The Liberty only notched 9 turnovers while outrebounding Phoenix, 42-29. Kelsey Bone scored 11 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Alex Montgomery added 13 points and 1 huge block- when she pinned 68 Brittney Griners shot to the backboard. Plenette Pierson made her presence known in the game with 15 rebounds and 6 assists. With the loss the Liberty were eliminated from playoff contention for just the fifth time in franchise history.
The Indiana Fever (15-17) are coming off of a 69-67 loss to the Washington Mystics. Briann January led the Fever with 16 points while Shavonte Zellous scored 14 points. Tamika Catchings pumped out 13 points and Karima Christmas added 12 in the game. The Fever were outrebounded 43-32 and only took 7 free throw attempts as compared to Washingtons 16. Still, Indiana recently qualified for the 2013 playoffs, making it their ninth consecutive post-season appearance.
The last time New York and Indiana faced off was on August 30th where the Fever were victorious, 73-67, at the Prudential Center. Indiana pulled away at the end of the game with a 21-13 fourth quarter outburst. Catchings delivered a double-double of 22 and 10. Shavonte Zellous also performed well tallying 21 points. Kelsey Bone and Plenette Pierson scored in double digits for the Liberty with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Alex Montgomery added 9 points and 9 rebounds in the loss.
Keys To The Game:
Make Tamika work!
In the last matchup of the Liberty and Fever, Tamika Catchings shot 4-6 from three and many of her made threes were wide-open uncontested looks at the basket. Catchings needs to be challenged each time she catches the ball. In fact, she must be defended before she catches the ball! Even if she still manages to score, the extra effort will sap her of energy down the stretch.
Build on the good!
Despite the loss, the Liberty had a lot to be excited about in their last contest on September 10th. They took great care of the ball and saw the continued offensive growth of Alex Montgomery and Kelsey Bone. Veterans Katie Smith and Plenette Pierson continued to deliver respectable performances. They Liberty are doing a great job of rebounding the ball. Without playoffs to fight for the Liberty should look at each game as an opportunity to focus on improvement.