New York's loss to Phoenix has them a game out of the final playoff spot.
In a game that the New York Liberty (13-18) described as a “must win,” the Phoenix Mercury (27-4) came in to MSG and scorched the New York Liberty 76-64. It might not seem like a blowout from the Liberty’s side, though, because watching the game told a different story.
New York began the game keeping up with the lethal Mercury offense. They ended the quarter down 25-20, despite shooting a dismal 35 percent and allowing the Mercury to shoot 56 percent. Tina Charles was a big help in that department with 16 first quarter points.
However, in the second quarter she would fail to register a single point and things began to run south for New York. They only scored ten points compared to Phoenix’s 18, and fell behind 13 going into half. And things would only get worse from there.
Charles would go on to only score eight points after her impressive first quarter and the Liberty similarly lost their offense as they went down a game-high 18 points in the 4th quarter.
When asked what went wrong for his team against the Western Conference-best Phoenix Mercury, Coach Bill Laimbeer said, “ [The Phoenix Mercury] are gonna make shots, that’s who they are, that’s what they do. You have to score against them. You can play the best defense in the world, they are still going to score. So we have to find ways to score and we struggle at that. Thats our number one problem as a group.”
Still, Coach Laimbeer seemed satisfied with his team’s efforts as he cited a deficient roster for their struggles as opposed to a lack of will. “We’re not the greatest shooters in the world, and we don't have the greatest experience and the people who can handle big time situations and step up. So it is what it is right now. We work our way through, we try to get the most out of it. But the effort was there tonight. I thought our team effort was solid across the board. I can take a loss like this all day because we competed. We just didn't have the horsepower to get it done.”
Hopefully, the Liberty can find that horsepower to win their final three games of the season. They can hardly afford to lose one game as they are one game out of the 4th and final playoff spot in the East. One of the teams that currently holds the 4th seed is the Indiana Fever, their next opponent. Make sure you catch the game on August 14 7:00 PM ET.
To listen to post-game comments from Coach Bill Laimbeer click on the links below: