Liberty, Cappie Explode on Mystics to End Losing Streak
The New York Liberty came out yesterday afternoon with a different attitude than their last game here at Madison Square Garden. They were focused throughout on their defensive assignments and there were few breakdowns. They were given some variations on their base offense which opened up scoring. Finally, they got a monster game from Cappie Pondexter as the Liberty won in a rare blowout, 81-64, over the Washington Mystics (4-4).
It was only the second time the Liberty scored 80 or more points this season.
“This is a game we needed very badly,” head coach Bill Laimbeer explained. “It was important that the players had a good game under their belt, and that they know what can happen if they play with that kind of energy.
From the moment “The Voice” singer Melissa Jimenez gave a stirring rendition of the national anthem, the tone was set. The Liberty exploded out the gate with a 10-0 run with Anna Cruz (10 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) harrassing guards. Essence Carson hit a jumper, Tina Charles (14 points, 8 boards) scored with a driving inside layup, followed by Cappie’s probing jumper at the key on a break.
Cappie’s shooting was at another level in this game.
The Liberty were much more aggressive on defense, helping out and rebounding on defensive boards as well. New York led 13-2 to start the first quarter and Cappie’s three off great ball movement closed the quarter 22-17 in the Liberty’s favor.
Alex Montgomery’s shooting and overall aggression was another sign of growth.
“We have been hammering down on Alex for the last week because she turns down so many shots.” Laimbeer said.
Tina Charles’ inside game broke the game wide open to the tune of 54-32.
“She was very active and aggressive in the post,” Laimbeer exclaimed.
The third quarter was even and in the end, with the game in hand, the Liberty sat their starters. Four Liberty players scored in double-digits with Cappie leading the way with 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting. The Liberty (3-5) will play Tulsa on the road next. The ability to sustain the effort from game to game will determine a lot for the Liberty this season.