NEW YORK LIBERTY: ALL OR NOTHING
Added by Luis Vazquez on August 31, 2013.
It has now come to this. The New York Liberty, in their final season at the Prudential Center, before returning to Madison Square Garden next year, are a game and a half behind the fourth and final playoff spot in the eastern Conference. They have five games remaining, three at home, with one tonight against the Indiana Fever, defending WNBA Champs, as crucial as any of these contests to get in strike range of the playoffs.
It has been a season of injury and roster unrest, along with surprising wins and brutal losses. The Liberty must begin to get stubborn. They need to fight for every inch; they need to find some consistency in any area for once and preferably now. Bill Laimbeer must depend on the formula that won championships when he was a player, defense, superior guard play, and timely shooting.
The areas where they have been able to depend this season are the play of their lone all-star Cappie Pondexter from the point. They need to continue to get scoring and rebounding from their bigs, Kara Braxton and Plenette Pierson, and even Kelsey Bone to win any game.
The long range shooting will have to come from their best two sources, Cappy and Katie Smith. To reinforce that area, Katie and even Leilani Mitchell, will have to look for the shot more and take them more than they have. If Alex Montgomery can have some good shooting games here, it would be a plus.
They may have to even sacrifice offense to focus on their defensive end more than ever. When they hold teams to 60-65 points, the Liberty are usually in control, otherwise games get out of control too fast and they fall behind too far to rally. The best wins for the Liberty have come from relentless defense and transition offense, but the home stretch is here and that usually brings out the best in championship performers. The Liberty have three players who have won championships in the WNBA and that has to account for something. Reputations and post season play are on the line, starting tonight, it’s now or never.