McCarville’s Resurgence Lifting Liberty Back Into Playoff Picture

Just when it seemed the New York Liberty’s season was slowly slipping away, Janel McCarville stepped up her game and helped her team get back to where it needs to be. And she did it during what may have been the most important game of the year.

The Liberty star recorded her fourth career double-double with 22 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in New York's thrilling 85-83 overtime victory over the Connecticut Sun at Madison Square Garden. In fact, it was her running lay-up with eight ticks remaining that won the game for the surging Liberty.

McCarville, whose season got off to an inconsistent start following the best year of her four-year career, has been dominating on both ends of the floor since the All-Star break.

“I think she’s gotten very aggressive and I think we’ve just gotten better as a team finding her,” interim head coach Anne Donovan said. “The combination of those two things has made her a very successful player.”

Despite her squad adjusting to a new coach, the Liberty still find themselves within striking distance of one of the final playoff spots mainly because of her terrific play.

Following Friday’s win, the Liberty (10-16) are only three games back of the fourth-place Washington Mystics.

“It’s definitely doable,” McCarville said of making the postseason. “We are going to take it step by step; we are not going to give up. We will play game by game and keep fighting till the end.”

McCarville’s recent surge began on July 30 when netted a season-high 28 points against Washington, becoming just the fifth player in franchise history to score that many points in a single game. Three of her four 20-plus point games have come since All-Star Weekend. It might be safe to say she picked the right time to take over.

“We’re kind of desperate for wins at this point, and I think people realize that,” McCarville said. “We all need to step up offensively, defensively, individually and collectively. Every game we’re trying to push for bigger and better things. We’re trying to get better every game.”

Her winning attitude is the exact reason why Donovan immediately thought to go to McCarville with the game on the line vs. the Sun.

“(My gameplan was) get the ball into McCarville's hands and let us go home," she said. "She has done a lot for us at the end of the game. Whenever we put the ball in her hands she makes big plays for us.”

Considered the vocal leader on the team, McCarville’s play on the defensive end has been equally impressive as well. Her three rejections against Connecticut set the tone for her team's big win.

“Getting better on the defensive end is big for us,” said McCarville, who is averaging over a block per game. “We don’t really rely on only offense to win our games, we rely on both rather heavily. Defense starts it for us. When we get a good defensive position, we usually get a great offensive possession.”