Liberty Double Up With Chicago

Ros Gold-Onwude

The New York Liberty hit the road to play the Chicago Sky for a second game in a row on Saturday, July 20th, at 8:00pm ET.

The Sky (11-4) defeated the Liberty (6-9) at the Prudential Center on Thursday, July 18th, 75-55. The Liberty had a rough start as Chicago came out swinging taking a 34-11 lead in the first quarter. Still, the Liberty battled back outscoring the Sky 14-7 in the second quarter. Ultimately, New York could not stifle Chicago’s solid shooting and the Sky finished the game shooting 41% from the field and 35% from three. New York shot 31% from the field and 28% from three. The Liberty controlled the boards outrebounding the Sky 42-37. Chicago squeezed more out of offensive possessions than the Liberty and tallied 15 assists and 12 turnovers in the game. New York only totaled 9 assists and gave up 18 turnovers as a team.

Rookie Elena Delle Donne led the way for Chicago and affected the game on both ends of the court with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks. The rookie played with accuracy knocking down 8 of 13 shots including 3 of 5 from trey. Carolyn Swords received the starting nod in replacement of the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Sylvia Fowles, who sat out to nurse an injured ankle. Filling in for Fowles is certainly no easy task but Swords rose to the occasion scoring 12 points, grabbing 5 rebounds and snagging 5 steals in the game. Shay Murphy added a boost off the bench with 12 points including two threes.

The Liberty were led in scoring by Plenette Pierson and Kelsey Bone who scored 11 points a piece. Pierson moved back into the starting lineup after consecutive strong performances leading up to Thursday’s game. Kelsey Bone quietly improves with each game. She stayed alert as teammates drove and did a good job of catching quick dump passes and finishing at the rim. Bone also grabbed 8 rebounds in the game. Cappie Pondexter was named a WNBA All-Star starter, the league announced on Thursday evening. Head coach Bill Laimbeer says Cappie Pondexter is embracing and learning the new role of point guard. The five-time all-star is hoping to get past growing pains in her new role as she struggled on 2 for 11 shooting and gave up 7 turnovers. However, Pondexter still scrapped together 9 points and 7 rebounds in the contest.

Keys to the Game:

Aggressive D
While the Liberty did show some fight later in the game, the early first half explosion from the Sky was too much to recover from. The Liberty gave up too many points on open threes, miscommunications on screens, and late help-side defense. Position defense is not enough; Liberty players need to be more aggressive and make the other team uncomfortable.

Guard Contributions
Outside of Pondexter, Leilani Mitchell has been the next most productive guard on offense. Katie Smith, Kamiko Williams, (and Alex Montgomery when playing guard) need to be more consistent.