The Liberty (1-2) return home after falling just short in a hard fought 87-82 battle versus the Lynx in Minnesota. Maya Moore notched her fourth 30 point game in a row to lead the defending champions. After a slow start in which the Liberty fell behind by ten in the first quarter the Liberty showed resilience and fought back to close the gap. New York shot nearly 46% from the field and out rebounded the Lynx 37-28. However, the Liberty also allowed 46% shooting from the field and 50% shooting from three for Minnesota. Tina Charles continues to heat up and led New York with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Cappie Pondexter also poured in 18 points. Essence Carson dropped a solid 14 points including two threes. Anna Cruz grows more comfortable in the starting lineup adding 8 points, 7 assists and only 3 turnovers. Veteran forward Delisha Milton-Jones added 10 points.
Pondexter took a lot of positive away from the loss, "I saw a big difference in our game against Minnesota". "I noticed improvements all around. We're getting more comfortable playing with each other and understanding each other. We work hard. It's definitely coming," said the All-Star.
The Seattle Storm (1-3) received a little extra pep in their step over the holiday weekend by achieving their first win of the season over the Washington Mystics, 74-65. It's been a rusty return to WNBA play for Sue Bird who took last season off to heal a knee injury. However, on Saturday Bird enjoyed a big game. Bird scored 16 points, dished 5 assists and accounted for clutch baskets down the stretch. Tanisha Wright added 14 points and 2 steals. Forward Camille Little scored 15 points and fellow interior playmaker Crystal Langhorne grabbed 14 rebounds to go along with 6 points. The Storm held Washington to 37% from the field, forced 16 turnovers, out rebounded the Mystics 32-30 and tallied 10 steals in the game. Veteran Sue Bird pointed to the defensive stats as the key to the win, "We're a defensive minded team. We turned them over and did a good job rebounding. We're a smaller team so we must defend and rebound".
LIBERTY KEYS TO THE GAME: 1) Get The Ball Inside:
Reason 1: Take advantage of having size and talented posts. Reason 2: The first option in much of the Liberty offense goes into the post and then out. The offense runs better if the ball gets inside frequently and early.
2) Value The Ball:
Seattle is small and scrappy and part of the game plan is to make the other team uncomfortable. Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer admits the Liberty still turn the ball over too much but also points out the team is doing a better job of having less turnovers and less "drastic" turnovers than last season.