New York’s season finale win bodes well for next season, according to head coach Bill Laimbeer.
3-10 and 12-9. Those are the two New York Liberty records before and after thirteen regular season games. The Liberty have been gradually improving all year, so it must not come as much of a surprise that they defeated the Indiana Fever Sunday night 73-61 in their season finale after losing 76-63 to the same team three nights prior.
When asked about what changed this time around, head coach Bill Laimbeer cited confidence in their offense as the X factor, as he does after most wins. “The other day we couldn't score, and we put our heads down and got stomped. That’s been our [problem] most of the year…scoring. So that was the difference in the start of the game, we made some buckets we didn't make in Indiana and we were able to get a little bit of confidence.”
Reflecting on the season, Laimbeer also expressed his belief in the team’s growth. He said, “They worked very hard this year. Overall in practice and in games I thought our effort was solid all year long. It’s night and day compared to last year. Something that we really wanted to change was the culture of how we played and how hard we played every game.” The Liberty were 11-23 last season.
Perhaps one reason for their four win improvement has been “valuing two points” as Laimbeer likes to say. According to Laimbeer, the coaching staff has been exclusively focusing on making the team value every possession.
When asked about it Laimbeer said, “That’s [a belief] they didn't have this year from the start…You have to learn from those opportunities [to win and make the playoffs]. If they learned from this opportunity this year, they'll come next year and every possession will be important. All those little things that add up to a quality team, we are learning.”
When asked about the team’s improvement this year, center Tina Charles shared similar beliefs. “I think we made short strides. I think there’s more things that we have to take personally. Just having discipline on defense, how hard we go, valuing a possession.”
Hopefully by next season head coach Bill Laimbeer and his coaching staff will be able to fully hammer down the idea of valuing two points to his team. In the meantime, the Liberty will continue to build around superstar Tina Charles and look to improve next May when the WNBA’s 2015 season begins.
To listen to comments from head coach Bill Laimbeer and Center Tina Charles, click on the links below.