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The Roller Coaster Continues

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May 30th 2017

Los Angeles Sparks 90 New York Libery 75

“Rollercoaster”

 

I have never been a fan of amusement parks and some of their scary rides. The roller coasters especially put fear in me; I still ride them but usually avoid the big ones. For the  New York Liberty the beginning of this season has and the highs and lows and the ascension and decline of those large rides.

 

The Liberty are now 2-3 on the season after a home loss at the hands of the defending WNBA Champion Los Angeles Sparks. The Sparks have also been inconsistent to begin the season with a 3-2 record after starting last season with 11 consecutive wins.

 

It was military appreciation night and New York had a lot of fireworks early. The Liberty started the game very well offensively. Tina Charles was marvelous, she had the team’s first 9-points and scored 14-points in the period shooting 6-7 from the floor.

 

“We were going against the champions, I definitely had something to prove individually and as a team.” – Tina Charles on her early success in the first quarter.

 

At the end of the first quarter the Liberty led 21-16 and held the combination of Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike to just 2-points. The Sparks bench would play a big role in this game early as they held their own against the Liberty and didn’t allow their team to fall to far behind. Riquna Williams finished with 12-points off the bench for the visitors.

 

The Sparks settled down in the second half and so did Candace Parker as she began to get into an offensive rhythm. Nneka Ogwumike also settled down and the two super stars combined for 42-points and 18-rebounds for the game.

 

“I was thinking too much.” – Nneka Ogwumike on her early struggles in the game.

 

Ogwumike had 2-points for the first half and just could not get into any type of rhythm on either side of the ball. She usually relies on her energy and activity on the floor to get herself and her teammates going.

 

“ We changed our schemes on the ball, we were able to give more help off the ball after we changed what we were doing on the ball.” –Nneka Ogwumike on how the Sparks adjusted their defense on Tina Charles in the second half of the game.

 

“Give LA their credit they made all the right plays in the second half..” – Coach Laimbeer.

 

“We know how to start games. We just have to do it for 40 minutes.” – Tina Charles.

The Liberty scored 37-points in the second half, their bench had just four of those points. For the Liberty to succeed they are going to need contributions from everyone. As Tina Charles pointed out, Epiphany Prince had a great game finishing with 21-points while playing out of position for most of the game. With the injury to Brittany Boyd, Pip as she is called has been thrust into the starting point guard role. Thus far she has responded well but moving her to the starting 5 has disrupted the Liberty’s bench production. Prince was named the Eastern Conference’s player of the week last week after averaging 21.5 points.

 

“We didn’t give her the ball on time.” – Coach Laimbeer on Tina’s second half performance.

 

Tina Charles scored the first 4-points for the Liberty in the second half. She did not seem as comfortable as she was in the first. The Sparks focused more on disrupting her rhythm and disrupting her teammates. Coach Laimbeer thought her teammates  didn’t give her the ball early especially when she had established herself in the post. The Sparks were able to help off the ball to try to disrupt her.

How do you define clutch? I thought how Candace Parker came alive when her team needed her the most is an example of this clutch mantra. She had 12-points in the third and fourth quarters combined and delivered on timely baskets.

 

“CP she just makes plays and she took it upon herself to make some plays down the stretch.” –Nneka Ogwumike on Candace Parker.

 

The Liberty look to rebound from this tough home loss on Friday as they host the Dallas Wings at Madison Square Garden. Hopefully the roller coaster ride continues to trend upward for the Liberty as they play their next four games at home and could pick up some crucial wins before heading back on the road.

 

Thank you for reading.

Sherman Gomez is a staff writer for PureSportsNY. 

Follow him on Twitter: sherman@shermgmz1

email: sherman@puresportsny

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