Liberty Unable to Outshoot Silver StarsJuly 9, 2012
Newark, NJ - Every time momentum swung in favor of the New York Liberty (6-10), the San Antonio Silver Stars (11-5) pulled it back in their direction. While the Liberty had their moments in the second half, they eventually came up short in an 81-94 loss to the Silver Stars on Sunday afternoon at the Prudential Center.
“They have a team of good shooters starting with Becky Hammon and their players are hard to guard,” Liberty head coach John Whisenant said. “I feel like we didn’t have a good outing defensively. We never got control of this one. It’s [been] difficult with our injury situation and it’s hard to practice and that’s a barrier we just have to get through.”
A slow start put the Liberty behind by six early in the game and it looked as though the Silver Stars were going to dictate the tone. Most of the first quarter was played at the Silver Stars' pace and it wasn't until late in the period that the Liberty appeared to have found their rhythm. The first quarter itself was a 3-point shootout as the Liberty went a perfect 6 of 6 from beyond the arc to the Silver Stars' 5 of 9. New York tallied a season-high 13 treys for the game and were one short of their franchise best from downtown.
It looked as though the Liberty had set the tone heading into the second quarter, pulling ahead by six after a pair of free throws from Cappie Pondexter. Two Liberty turnovers midway through the period resulted in a four-point swing and from that moment forward, it was an ongoing struggle at both ends of the floor for New York. The Silver Stars quickly seized control with a 6-2 run in the final minute of the first half and went into the break up nine over the Liberty.
There’s a saying that “when it rains, it pours,” and for the Liberty, it certainly did when DeMya Walker left the game due to a knee injury early in the third quarter. With Kia Vaughn recovering from a concussion and Plenette Pierson still out because of a knee strain, the Liberty were left with only two true post players for the second half, Kara Braxton and Kelley Cain. Nicole Powell shifted to the power forward position to fill the void, but it was still a struggle to get some scoring inside, which caused New York to rely on their shooters to keep them in the game.
Carson scored 12 of her season-high 25 points in the third quarter while Pondexter added eight. Their combined 20 of the Liberty’s 27 points in the period kept the team within reach of the Silver Stars, pulling to within four as they headed into the final frame. Playing off a surge of momentum at the start of the fourth quarter, the Liberty cut the margin to one and had an opportunity to take the lead but Leilani Mitchell missed on her three-point attempt. From that point forward, it was all Silver Stars as they cruised toward their seventh straight victory.
Pondexter finished with 23 points and eight rebounds. Powell and Mitchell netted 12 points apiece.
Jia Perkins led all Silver Stars scorers with 24 points and pocketed six steals. Becky Hammon and Sophia Young added 23 and 21 points respectively.
“It’s tough losing a game when we’re shooting as well as the other team,” Pondexter said. “This is when you look at other things in the box score. We had 21 turnovers. They had 26 assists, which means they moved the ball really well. Obviously, they executed and made shots down the stretch and we didn’t.”
The Liberty have two more games left before the month-long Olympic break and return to action on Tuesday night against the Indiana Fever. Then on Friday, the Liberty will host the Washington Mystics for a Camp Day game.