Libs Look to End Season on a High Note

The New York Liberty are in the homestretch of a roller-coaster season that will end much sooner than expected, but one that is certainly not over yet.

With the team preparing for the final two matchups of the 2009 season – Thursday in Detroit and Sunday at home against Washington – don’t expect to see interim Head Coach Anne Donovan stray away from her rotation and begin looking forward to next year.

Expect the Liberty to go out and try to win basketball games, just like they have all season. And expect them to play as if they were still fighting for a playoff spot.

“We’d like to be playing in the postseason, but we just have to make the most of the opportunities we have,” Donovan said. ”We want to finish on a high-note.”

The Liberty, who were eliminated from playoff contention last week, have an opportunity to play the spoiler in the Eastern Conference, as both the Shock and Mystics are in a tight four-team race for the final two playoff spots. They also have a final chance to prove that they are a better team than their 12-20 record indicates this summer, a year after finishing one win shy of reaching the WNBA Finals.

“We have to go out and play for us, play for the pride that we need to show and try to erase some of the bad memories of the year,” center Janel McCarville said.

The Liberty sure looked like a team playing for pride on Tuesday night when they went the distance with Conference-leading Indiana, who is looking to lockdown home-court advantage through the postseason. With three captains – Loree Moore, Janel McCarville and Shameka Christon (out with illness) – sidelined for most of the game due to injuries, New York’s reserves gave the Fever starters a scare until the closing seconds of the narrow 69-63 defeat.

“Everybody played hard, top to bottom,” McCarville said. “It could have been easy for us to fold, but we kept in the game throughout, made them work for everything they got.”

One of the few bright spots of the season, Donovan says, is the recent play from rookie Kia Vaughn. The center was one of the key additions to the team with championship aspirations heading into the summer and has played a valuable role towards the end of the season.

“I think Kia Vaughn has had a really good rookie year,” Donovan said. “She’s been put in situations, for better or worse, when she’s been in the games down the stretch and kind of got thrown in the fire. Through that she’s gotten very valuable experience for her second year.”

The Liberty are hoping to add a few more positives in the next week. The opporunities will be there.

Score tickets to the final game of the 2009 season – Sunday, September 13th at 4 p.m. The first 5,000 fans in attendance will score a “Fan Appreciation” t-shirt, courtesy of the Hospital for Special Surgery. Reserve your seat today by clicking here, visiting The Garden Box Office or calling 877-WNBA-TIX.