We're Halfway There

After a disappointing season in 2009, the Liberty was determined to get back on track come 2010. Proven winners Cappie Pondexter, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Nicole Powell and Plenette Pierson all were brought in to aid that goal, and with the help of returning veteran Janel McCarville, the “new-look” Libs headed into the season with plans to get back to its winning ways.

Starting the season with high expectations, the Liberty took on the Chicago Sky at Madison Square Garden to open the season with an 85-82 win in front of a crowd of 12,088. In their Liberty debuts, Pondexter and McWilliams-Franklin led the team with 22 and 20 points, respectively.

After dropping two games to Washington and Atlanta, the Liberty hit the road for its longest road trip of the season. Looking to bounce back, the team took on San Antonio, winning 77-71. Just days after the team had announced a new partnership with Foxwoods Resort Casino, New York headed to the Mohegan Sun Arena to face Conference rival, Connecticut. Despite a double-double from McCarville (14 points, career high 13 rebounds) the Liberty fell to the Sun, 75-68. Pondexter’s season-best 31 points helped lead a team effort to get back on the winning track with a 85-70 victory in her hometown of Chicago.

New York returned to The Garden to face the Conference-leading Dream and scored a 91-79 victory behind Pondexter’s 25 points and established a two-game win streak. The team achieved a .500 record for the first time.

In mid-June, the franchise acquired Pierson from Tulsa. In a three-game span, the two-time WNBA Champion made her New York debut with 10 points off the bench and McWilliams-Franklin recorded the 2,500th rebound of her illustrious career and continued her reign as the second leading rebounder in WNBA history.

New York hit the road and routed the struggling Shock, 92-78, as Leilani Mitchell set career highs by sinking six three-point field goals for 20 points on the night. The team set a new franchise record with 14 treys in the game. The win snapped a three-game ski and gave head coach Anne Donovan the 150th win of her WNBA coaching career.

Back in the Big Apple and looking to avenge its early season loss to the Sun, New York made a second half comeback to win 77-68. Powell led the Libs with a double-double performance (14 points and 10 rebounds), the ninth of career and first of the season.

With a two-game win streak in tow, the team departed for its annual west coast trip. New York took on its oldest rival, Los Angeles, and kept its streak alive by topping the Sparks, 80-68. The three wins established the longest win streak of the season, and the longest since the 2008 season. The Liberty lost its leader in Pondexter in the third quarter of its match-up against the Mercury, and fell 97-82 at the US Airways Center. Pierson logged a season-high 18 points in the loss. Looking to even the season series against the Storm, New York headed to Key Arena for the final match-up of the trip. The visitors led through the first three quarters, but watched the WNBA’s No. 1 team take over in the fourth and ended the west coast haul with a loss.

With 16 games in the books at the All-Star break, the Liberty has posted a record of 7-9. Pondexter is among the league leaders in scoring with 19.6 points per game, while the Liberty continues to remain one of the top three free throw and three-point shooting teams in the WNBA.

The second half of the season will present a hand full of challenges for the Liberty, beginning with a three-game home-stand and eight Conference opponent match-ups in the next 10 games. The second half push could serve as a spring board to get the team back into playoff territory.

Only time will tell the fate of the Liberty, but the way the team is playing now, the future looks promising. A season that started with so much hope and promise is still alive.

Compiled by Anthony Prisco

See the Liberty in action this summer at Madison Square Garden. Tickets, beginning at $10, are available now by clicking here, visiting The Garden Box Office or calling 877-WNBA-TIX. Group tickets and unique experiences are available by clicking here.