After a difficult loss to the Chicago Sky on Friday, the Liberty came out firing on all cylinders and demolished the Washington Mystics 85-55 on Sunday afternoon. Bria Hartley scored 15 points and Sugar Rodgers added 14 points coming off the bench for New York (9-9), who jumped out to a 16-point lead at the end of the first quarter. The Mystics, who were missing star Elena Delle Donne because of right ankle injury, couldn’t get into a flow offensively.
The Liberty opened a big lead early in the game with a 30-point opening quarter, its highest scoring opening period of the season. They lead 30-14 after 10 minutes of action and never looked back. The 30-point victory was the largest of the year for New York, which limited the Mystics to 27.7 percent shooting from the field.
For head coach Bill Laimbeer, the result is what matters. “This was an important win for us. I know they were shorthanded, but a win is a win … we’re not going away, and hopefully, we’ll play [the next game] as well as we did today.” Tina Charles added, “I don’t feel good about where we are right now, but I am confident in the turnaround we can have.”
Spacing and Pacing Towards Victory
There is no shortage of talent at the guard position for the Liberty. Yet, before today, there was ambiguity as to who the starting guard would (or should) be. Hartley got the call against the Mystics.
Hartley’s ability to push the tempo that got her the start. She was tasked with increasing the pace of the game against her former team, “Brittany Body told me before the game, ‘push the tempo and play defense.’ That’s what I tried to focus on and let the rest of the game come to me,” Hartley said. For her part offensively, she added 15 points.
“When you push the ball the defense can’t get set so it opens up holes and opportunities to attack,” said Laimbeer.
Next Up For The Liberty
The Liberty will host the red-hot Connecticut Sun before the All-Star break. New York has dropped two games to Connecticut, with both losses by double-digits.
“We know we have Connecticut staring us in the face and they are playing well,” Laimbeer said, “This was an important win. We need to make a statement that we’re here and not going away.”
I’m sure the Liberty would love to get this game and set a nice tone heading into the second-half of the season.
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