GAME PREVIEW

Liberty Head West

New York Liberty (8-13) vs. Los Angeles Sparks (10-12)
Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, July 23 | 10:30 p.m EST.

Broadcast: MSG+ | NBATV | LiveAccess



AT STAKE:
The Liberty embark on a West Coast road trip in which they will play three games in four days. New York is in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings and within striking distance of contending for a playoff position. New York faces a challenge they’ve struggled to overcome this year: winning on the road. New York is looking to win just its second road game this Wednesday. The Sparks are in fourth place in the Western Conference standings. The Sparks are up 1-0 in the regular season series after a 68-54 win over the Liberty at Madison Square Garden on July 11th.

FROM NEW YORK TO PHOENIX:
Tina Charles and Cappie Pondexter were selected to participate in the 2014 Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star game. Cappie Pondexter was voted an East starter and Tina Charles scored 19 points to help the East defeat the West, 125-124.

SPARKS LOOKING FOR ANSWERS:
The Los Angeles Sparks recently announced that they relieved Carol Ross as head coach and named Sparks Executive Vice President and general manager Penny Toler as the team’s head coach for the remainder of the season.

Before her termination, Carol Ross hinted at the team’s lack of focus after their most recent loss, “every team is different, and for whatever reason, this team is not focused. We've got to give our fans something to get behind us about, and we just haven't done it. But fortunately, the best part of the season is in front of us, and we have to recapture that magic here at Staples Center”.

KEYS VS. LA

Contain the LA Interior.
In the last matchup between New York and Los Angeles Nneka Ogwumike scored 15 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Candace Parker and Jantel Lavender each scored 14 points. The Sparks boast a lot of talent in the paint and the Liberty must work to take away each of those player’s best offensive option, while staying out of foul trouble. New York needs Avery Warley-Talbert and Alex Montgomery on the court for their size and physicality on defense.

Against Ogwumike and Lavender, the Liberty will want to affect how and where they catch the ball. The idea is to do your defensive work early and push them out further from the basket, contest and box out. Lavender shoots too high a field-goal percentage and Ogwumike is too athletic to be allowed to cut easily to the rim or have open shots.

Limit Untimely Turnovers.
Turnovers are going to happen, but New York must limit the costly late-game turnovers. Execution will be a must in order to win on the road.

Keep Cappie Engaged.
Cappie Pondexter scored zero points for just the second time of her career during the last matchup versus Los Angeles. Cappie fought through a painful groin injury over the course of the game, however, the Sparks also frustrated Pondexter by defending her with athletic, strong, long and sizable defenders in Alana Beard and Armintie Herrington.