By Arden Franklyn
Following the All Star break, teams know having any kind of momentum can take them a long way, since the playoffs will soon arrive. Well after winning two straight games, the New York Liberty looked to build upon their momentum but lost in a 76-75 nail biter to the 17-2 Minnesota Lynx. Here are three takeaways from that exciting down-to-the-wire finish on ESPN2.
1. Maya Moore and her red hot shooting
Since the beginning of June, Maya Moore has scored at least 20 points seven times and that included her season-high 27 point performance against the Liberty on Tuesday. The former WNBA MVP and multi-time world champion is such a difficult matchup with her various moves and ability to shoot. Moore picked a critical game to reach a new season-high in scoring, as despite both her and Sylvia Fowles scoring in double figures, the Liberty still had a look to win the game in the final moments.
2. Still adjusting to new lineup
Coach Bill Laimbeer made a noticeable lineup adjustment prior to the All Star break, when guard Sugar Rodgers was moved to the bench in favor of Bria Hartley. That adjustment was a big reason why the Liberty earned two consecutive wins, with Hartley pushing pace as the lead guard with the offensive starters, and Rodgers providing some much needed offensive fire power with New York’s 2nd unit. Getting both players going offensively has proven critical for the Liberty in terms or wins and losses, especially when it comes to Hartley. New York is 5-1 this year when she scores in double figures.
3. Prince has a bounce back game
Epiphanny Prince is widely known across the league as one of the best scorers, but she recently had a four game slump entering Tuesday’s game. It consisted of single digit scoring performances and shooting totals of 8/35 from the field and 2/11 from long distance. But the Brooklyn native recovered from those struggles with 19 points, 5 rebounds, and a season-high 4 steals against the Lynx, with a shooting percentage of 53%. Few players in the WNBA possess the dynamic offensive playmaking ability of Prince, who looks to continue to serve as a compliment to the consistent dominance of Tina Charles in the paint.