Ten-Day Road Trip Ends in LA

Ros Gold-Onwude

The Liberty (5-5) end their ten-day road trip with the Los Angeles Sparks this Thursday, July 4th, at 3:30 pm ET. The Liberty come off of a high-scoring battle in Phoenix in which they lost to the Mercury, 94-87, on Tuesday, July 2nd. New York cut down the turnovers totaling only 14, outrebounded Phoenix 38-34, and shot over 48% from the field and 44% from three. Four Liberty players scored in double digits with Cappie Pondexter leading the way for 17 points, but on a tough 5-14 shooting. Leilani Mitchell added 11 points in less than 12 minutes of play. Katie Smith scored 13 and Kara Braxton dropped 14 points. Uncharacteristically, the Liberty struggled on defense. They allowed 94 points, 46% field goal shooting, 26 assists on 34 made field goals, and forced only 7 turnovers for the Mercury.

The Los Angeles Sparks (6-4) are undefeated at home. They blasted the Minnesota Lynx at home on Tuesday, July 2nd, 96-66. Candace Parker led the team with 27 points and 8 rebounds. Kristi Toliver scored 14 points and also created for her teammates with 9 assists. Nneka Ogwumike boasted a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. As a team they shot 50% from three, knocking down 9 total. The Sparks have been an up-and-down team this season. Four days before beating the Lynx at home, they were dominated in Minnesota and lost by 24. They are led by a “big four”: one of the best players in the world in Candace Parker, a nifty scorer in Kristi Toliver, one of the league’s best point guards in Lindsey Harding and the steady and athletic Nneka Ogwumike.

Keys To The Game:

1) Refocus on Defense

New York is one of the WNBA’s best defensive teams, however, they allowed the Mercury to shoot 46% from the field. While New York put up a lot of points, they don’t want to get in a scoring contest and loose sight of their defensive roots against the best teams.

2) Rookie Growth

The Liberty have seen inconsistent contributions from their three rookies this season. Young players often hit a wall as they try to merge into a higher level. Unfortunately, on short WNBA rosters all players have to be ready to contribute and execute for a team to operate at the highest level. After falling out of the rotation Kamiko Williams can build off of an 8 point and 9 rebound game. Toni Young and Kelsey Bone need to keep growing.