New York is fighting back after a rough start to the season.
After a successful 2-1 road trip in which the Liberty won two games by a combined six points, New York found a way to win another close one, defeating the Washington Mystics 80-76 on Tuesday night at the Garden. The Liberty now sit at 11-14, which may not seem like a record to be excited about, but after a 4-11 start to the season, New York is getting hot at the right time.
The Liberty led by 15 at halftime of Tuesday night’s game before allowing Washington to come back, tie it up, and force overtime. However, big defensive plays from Sugar Rodgers down the stretch were crucial to the Liberty eeking out a victory that coach Bill Laimbeer called “a very big win for our franchise.”
Laimbeer clearly had playoffs on his mind when he said “We’re trying to catch anybody and everybody in front of us. It’s a dogfight. Every win we can get, especially home wins are so important.”
Laimbeer was not the only person with playoffs on his mind after Tuesday’s win. When asked about the game, Tina Charles and Sugar Rodgers both said they treated this like “a playoff game.” Rodgers added that “every game is going to be a playoff game because everybody is bunched up looking for a spot.”
This mentality shined throughout the game as there was a lot of energy on both the offensive and defensive end for the Liberty, and the Garden crowd of 8,946 roared for most of the game.
The Liberty are undoubtedly playing their best basketball right now, and a lot of that credit can be placed on the fact that it’s been a collective effort. Laimbeer said of his team: “They all like each other and the chemistry this year is so much different than last year. They root for each other.” Contributions from role players such as Natasha Lacy and Plenette Pierson show that this Liberty team is deep and poised to make a run at the playoffs.
New York now hits the road winners of four of their last five, as they take on the Chicago Sky in a critical matchup on July 31.