The Liberty go 0-3 to start the season
TRACY JUSAY Special to the AmNews | 5/25/2012, 11:57 a.m.
The New York Liberty are three games into the WNBA season, and it's still the same old story: start off a game strong, lose intensity in the middle, then try to dig a way out toward the end.
After Tuesday night's 80-62 loss to the 2011 WNBA champions, the Minnesota Lynx, that quest for a victory continues tomorrow night in Atlanta against the Atlanta Dream.
The Liberty got off to a quick start and kept pace with the Lynx in the first quarter, but as time passed in the second quarter, the team slowly lost their composure and fell behind by 11 at halftime. Bad passes and poor shot selection contributed to a dismal start in the second half for the Liberty, putting them behind by as many as 14. Despite a short offensive spurt toward the end of the third quarter that cut the margin to eight, the damage was already done. As the lead ballooned back to double figures in the fourth quarter, it became clear this team has their work cut out for them if they are to become a cohesive unit built to win.
"That's always the tough part," Cappie Pondexter said, regarding everyone playing together as a team. "Coach has put in a new offense and we haven't had everybody here during training camp, so it's hard getting acclimated."
It's not uncommon for teams to have chemistry issues in the beginning of the season, and judging from the first three games, the Liberty are a team that is still trying to find the right formula for winning.
"We're just not where we need to be," head coach John Whisenant said. "We're not sharp. We're not getting execution. Why it's not happening, I don't have an answer."
Whisenant may not have all the answers, but he remains confident team chemistry will build as time passes. "It takes time to find rhythm and feel comfortable playing with each other," he said.
Whisenant also noted that he did not have his full roster until a few days before the season started because his key players--Plenette Pierson, Kia Vaughn and Nicole Powell--had just arrived from overseas. Hopefully, the two days of rest the Liberty had this week has allowed them to work on building that team chemistry. WNBA teams are stronger and tougher now, and wins don't come easy.