The New York Liberty (4-2) fell short of the Chicago Sky (4-3) at home on Sunday afternoon, ending the team's four-game winning streak. Unfortunately, this was the first loss of the season on their home court. Even in a losing effort, the Barclays Center remains to be filled to the brim and energy remains sensational. The Liberty began the game with a slow start, however they managed to pick up as the game progressed.
It appeared the Sky successfully minimized and restricted all of Liberty’s star players. The Sky may not have the same talent as the Liberty, however they were able to utilize their physicality on defense to disrupt the Liberty’s rhythm. Ultimately, forcing other role players to beat them and the gameplan appeared to be successful as they defeated the Liberty on the road, 86-82.
“Hopefully this is a wake-up. Some players need to wake up a little bit more. We went away from what worked for us,” Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said. "Our shot profile was terrible. We don’t find ways to get (Breanna Stewart) touches. We just didn’t play tough enough. Disappointing, but the film won’t lie. So we’ve got to use it as a learning opportunity now.”
Should the New York Liberty be Concerned?
Although it never feels good to lose in general, the fashion in which the Liberty was defeated appeared concerning. In the second half, the Liberty allowed the Sky to come back trailing 19 points. In fact, down the stretch of the closely contested matchup Sky’s veteran guard Courtney Williams delivered some late clutch shots to secure the victory. Throughout the game, she fed into the crowd and embraced being the villain, after the game this only continued.
"There's so much hype around these superteams -- no shade, but shade," Williams said. "But at the end of the day, we here too. ... We already won; y'all gotta wake up!"
Majority of the game, the Liberty Star player Sabrina Ionescu (4 pts) struggled and it showed late in the contest. It appeared when the Liberty needed a quick score they doubled Breana Stewart and forced her to rely on her teammates to score, however many couldn’t deliver. Despite the lack of scoring, the pride of the Liberty may have cost them this game. In the second half, the Liberty appeared to shy away from what granted them early success in the first half.
"We looked for our own way too much," Brondello said. "We went away from what went well. They've got to trust the process and find the open man, and move the ball. That's on me... but in the end, I think we need to just play with a bit more pride."
The Liberty's poor second half costed them the game, and the veteran players have made note of it and look to correct it. Naturally, most of the team wasn’t too happy with a loss, but they all understand it’s early in the season and plenty of time to correct their mistakes now.
"We don't want to be the team that only plays 20 minutes," Vandersloot said. That's been the reoccurring thing. This is a really good league. Any team can beat anybody. We have to have the mentality that, if we don't put 40 minutes together, we're not gonna win."
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