Superstar Duel Goes to Liberty
It was a showcase game between the New York Liberty and defending WNBA Champions, Minnesota Lynx (13-6). It was the “Hoops for Troops” game and a large crowd was present at Madison Square Garden to witness the duel between Tina Charles of New York and Minnesota Star, Maya Moore. The results were a New York team that was motivated and hungry to show they belonged on the same court.
New York (7-11) prevailed, 87-80, snapping a six game losing streak to the champs.
“We got some really fine performances from our stars. A 32 point career high for Tina and Cappie gets 11 rebounds. Anna played solid again,” Bill Laimbeer summarized.
The Lynx made a conscience effort to slow Charles, doubling and sometimes triple teaming in the post, but the veteran found her spots and her fluid game did the rest, scoring inside often and passing for four assists, keeping up with the champs, who saw a Maya Moore that looked determined to re-establish their supremacy as she hit a three to start, drove for two spectacular reverse layups, and blocked a three point shot attempt by Alex Montgomery to provide great emotion. Moore had nine points after one quarter of play.
“We have to get more people involved in the offense,” Moore shared. “Whether that’s making the extra pass or setting a great screen.”
The Lynx played good team ball, moving it well on the perimeter to open a 12 point lead at one point. But, the Liberty team defense ignited several transition scores which brought New York even at the half. Plenette Pierson came off the bench to score 8 pts and with Sugar Rodgers and Charde Houston continuing the harassment of Lynx ball handlers, or the clutch basket or rebound by DeLisha Milton-Jones, the Liberty moved to a four point advantage after three. Laimbeer praised his bench after the game.
“Our role players did their jobs,” said the head coach. “They got out there and played defense and got the rebounds, made some shots, and brought energy.” The Liberty moved up by four at the close of the third.
In the fourth, the Liberty had to sweat out another Minnesota run, as Maya Moore’s 25th and final points cut the lead to two. But New York got what it needed. Ana Cruz went to the basket and carved out critical points and Charles and Pondexter finished up a double double to run the table to a significant win, their third straight.
Laimbeer is only looking to the next contest, saying, “Its a quality win. It’s a momentum boost for us.” Laimbeer continued, “Now we go on the road. It’s time for us to stand up on the road. If we are going to get to the playoffs we have to get some road wins.”
Next up is Wednesday against San Antonio.
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