New York Liberty Loses Third Straight
The pre-game warmups said a lot. The San Antonio Stars looked confident, but purposeful. The New York Liberty, coming off of two straight losses on the road, seemed, in retrospect, too happy. The result was a second half demolition that ended with Bill Laimbeer replacing all of his starters for the final eight minutes. The final score, 87-75, was kind and puzzling. The way the game started was with the Liberty making extra passes and returning to their base offensive set with their bigs receiving the ball in high post and distributing to cutters or passing out to shooters. It worked well and Ana Cruz, with a shoulder pad for an apparent injury, closed out the first with a grinding crossover and a wide, soaring layup where she was fouled, resulting in a three point play and early three point lead.
In the second quarter, the Stars were faster and beat New York on the dribble with several give and go’s. Tina Charles was quite active and reached double digit points and Alex Montgomery was hitting jumpers; she even drove for a three point play during the quarter to make it a one point deficit at the half. The level changes during a single game continue to confound, as great efforts are not showing on the scoreboard. Tina Charles, who topped the scoring list for New York, reaffirmed Laimbeer’s message. “He’s the boss. Whatever he wants us to do, we need to get done,” she said.
The Stars were led by a three-headed attack, and in the third, twelve turnovers contributed to one fast break after another, leaving the Liberty looking slow. Kayla McBride tallied 14, Sophia Young-Malcol had 16, and Jia Perkins scorched New York for 17 by that time. “We turned the ball over and they ran it down our throats,” Laimbeer exclaimed. “We have to take each possession more seriously,” Charles added.
But the final slap was provided by wide-bodied Danielle Adams, who continues to haunt Liberty bigs. Adams hit for ten on long three pointers, spinning drives, and in-your-face scores. Adams was apparently inspired by her first game at the Garden. It was too much for Coach Laimbeer, who pulled out the troops and for the final eight minutes Toni Young, Warley McKinnon, Alex Montgomery, and Chucky Jeffrey actually were able to stem the tide and close the final deficit to 12. “I dont know how to describe that,” Tina Charles explained. “That didnt look like a WNBA game. That looked like a high school basketball.” The Liberty will return to the Garden this Sunday against the Washington Mystics.