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Pierson's return boosts the Liberty's second half return

TRACY JUSAY Special to the AmNews | 8/23/2012, 3:54 p.m.

With the Olympic break now behind them, the New York Liberty entered the second half of the WNBA season with one specific goal in mind: making the playoffs.

The task is easier said than done however, as they currently sit with an 8-13 record after a 77-67 win over the Chicago Sky on Tuesday night. The Liberty hit the ground running coming out of the break, despite splitting the home-and-home series with the Connecticut Sun.

Starting the second half of the season with a win was definitely a boost of confidence for the team, as it ended the three-game skid they had going into the monthlong break. This hasn't been the easiest of seasons for the Liberty, but they'll take every victory they can get, along with learning and moving on from the losses as they make a playoff push.

Wins and losses aside, the Liberty are happy to have Plenette Pierson back in the lineup. Pierson missed eight games spanning from June to July because of a right knee strain. Having Pierson back on the court again has provided the team with a strong presence in the paint with her post play as well as her rebounding. Her importance to the team was displayed when she scored 16 points in her first game back last Thursday against the Sun.

"It felt great to be back out there going to war with these guys," Pierson said. "They put me in a great position to be successful and not get frustrated with myself."

Pierson's return was definitely what the Liberty needed as they got off to an even start against the Sky on Tuesday night. She was in double-digit scoring by the second quarter, despite the game seeming like an uphill battle for most of the first half. A 9-0 run put them ahead late in the second quarter, heading into the halftime break up by eight. The margin extended to double digits and the Liberty led by as many as 18 during the third quarter when they took advantage of the Sky's miscues on the floor. Despite a Sky comeback in the fourth quarter, the Liberty managed to hold on for the victory.

The Liberty continue their West Coast road trip this weekend with a game against the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday. They'll then head to Seattle for a game against the Storm on Sunday.