Are the Liberty finally finding their groove?
Maddie the mascot’s birthday was not the only reason to celebrate this Sunday for the New York Liberty (5-10). The team, who had just lost a close game on Friday against Chicago 73-69, bounced back and beat the Connecticut Sun 67-65 in another tight one.
Cappie Pondexter, who didn't score a point last time out, led the team, along with Tina Charles, with 14 points. She and the rest of the team were very aggressive and focused in the first half, something that Head Coach Bill Laimbeer has stressed all season. “We’ve dug ourselves first half holes that been nearly impossible for us to climb out of…we do play very hard in the 2nd half…but our first halves have been our downfall,” he said when asked about their propensity to underachieve in the first half.
What causes these mental lapses, Laimbeer thinks, is an overall lack of “valuing two points.” In his and Cappie’s opinion, the team gets into too many moments where they play lackadaisical defense on the fast break, turn over the ball in crucial moments, or fail to box out and stop offensive rebounds.
Something that Laimbeer failed to talk about is the team’s ball distribution-because he didn’t have to. Both Pondexter and Sugar Rodgers, two of the team’s major facilitators, believe that distribution is one of the Liberty’s strong points.
What is beginning to become clear at this point in the season is that it may also be the key to New York’s success. In their past two wins, the Liberty are averaging 28 points per game off the bench and have had at least three players in both games in double-figures. Distribution has led to execution for the Liberty, something that they hope continues through Tuesday when they take on Tulsa at the Garden.
To listen to comments from Laimbeer and Pondexter, click on the links below.