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July 17th 2016

NY Liberty 83 vs. Connecticut Sun 76

 

The NY Liberty came into this match up looking to bounce back from a tough loss as they faced the Connecticut Sun. They have dominated this team recently and looked to continue this trend. Tina Charles continues to lead the WNBA in scoring and is a candidate for league MVP. Alex Bentley in her 3rd season leads the Connecticut Sun at the guard position and along with rising star Chiney Ogwumike looked to steal a big win on the road. The visitors came in with a 6-15 record and are last place in the Eastern Conference.

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Sugar Rodgers Photo: Sherman Gomez for PureSportsNY

Sugar Rodgers was given the task of containing Bentley to begin the game. Sugar started the game off aggressively on the offensive end as she looked to make Bentley work on both ends of the court. Bentley hit her first shot over Rodgers, a 3-pointer and seemed comfortable to begin the game. The Liberty were determined to get Tina the ball early but the Sun had great ball denial on the post entry passes. Alyssa Thomas was aggressive early for the visitors as she matched up against Swin Cash, this turned out to be a match up to watch throughout the game.

 

“ I wanted to try and be aggressive and get in a rhythm..” – Swin Cash

 

Both teams were a little inconsistent to begin the game Sugar Rodgers had 5 early points in the first and Tina Charles didn’t scored her first basket until a little over 2 minutes left in the first period. The Liberty began to pull away at the end of the period as they went on a 6-0 run to take the lead 21-15.

 

The second period continued with the Liberty maintaining their defensive pressure. The game got a little physical and awkward after Chiney Ogwumike inadvertently elbowed Rebecca Allen, which led to a nosebleed. While Allen was bleeding she attempted to call timeout and the referees did not stop play, which led to two free throws by Ogwumike.

 

The Sun began chipping away at the lead at the free throw line, as they seemed to get a call every trip down on the offensive end. Shavonte Zellous picked up 3 fouls in the first half and could not impact the game. The Sun went on a 13-3 run in the second period and took a 29-24 lead with 5:10 to go in the first half. Chiney Ogwumike established herself in the first half on both ends of the court she finished the half with 10-points and 4 rebounds but she did things that did not show up on the stat sheet. The Sun took a two-point lead into the half as they led 38-36.

 

Jasmine Thomas began heating up in the 3rd period for the Sun, she had 6 quick points at the beginning of the 3rd period and put pressure on the Liberty defense early. With 4:30 left in the third the home team was down 50-46 as they just could not seem to get control of the game. After a time out the Liberty went on a 7-1 run to regain the lead (53-51 and brought the home crowd to their feet. Sugar Rodgers led the way in the 3rd period with 6-points. The Liberty took a two-point lead into the 4th (55-53).

 

The Liberty took control of the game in the fourth quarter and played like the eastern conference leaders. The game was close but they executed and were patient on offense while applying defensive pressure. Tina Charles finished with 14-points and 10 rebounds however she did not shoot particularly well from the floor (5-13). Sugar Rodgers also shot poorly form the field but she did end up with 14-points and timely baskets to help the Liberty to pull out this victory.

 

“ We somehow found a way to win..” – Coach Laimbeer

 

The Liberty got major contributions from veteran Swin Cash, who had 16-points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. She played 25 minutes and gave the Liberty an offensive boost as the team as a whole struggled from the floor. Swin was active on both ends of the floor and seemed to take on the challenge of scoring and going up against a tough assignment in Alyssa Thomas of the Sun. Kiah Stokes also gave the Liberty some productive minutes off the bench, she had 9-points and 6 rebounds.

 

“She’s a professional basketball player.. She knows when its her time..” – Coach Laimbeer on Swin Cash’s performance.

“She’s a good player, she’s gonna get some points..”- Coach Laimbeer on Chiney Ogwumike

 

For the Sun, Chiney Ogwumike came off the bench to score 18-points and grabbed 10 rebounds. She was the story for the visitors as she showed how she could impact a game on both ends of the floor. Coming off a knee injury last season she seems to be more comfortable on the floor and it will only be a mater of time until she shows her true potential and becomes a star in the league just like her sister. Alex Bentley finished with 10-points, she did not shoot well from the floor (3-11) and just seemed to be a little out of rhythm throughout the game. The Sun have a nice young nucleus on their roster and in a few seasons they will be a contending team in the eastern conference.

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Chiney Ogwumike battles Kiah Stokes for a rebound.. Photo: Sherman Gomez for PureSportsNY

With two games left before the Olympic break the Liberty look to finish up strong with a back to back as they face the Mystics on Wednesday July 20th and then host the Indiana Fever on Thursday July 21st.

Thank you for reading.

Follow Sherman on Twitter: Sherman@shermangmz1

Email: shermangmz1@gmail.com

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