It was a matter of percentages as the New York Liberty lost its home opener to the Chicago Sky 80-76. Although the score was tight and three Liberty players—Tina Charles, Kia Nurse and Amanda Zahui B—finished in double figures, the overall team shooting percentage was just 36.1 percent versus 47.6 percent for the Sky.
“They hit shots and we didn’t,” said coach Katie Smith. “That was honestly the biggest thing. “We’ve got to make them more uncomfortable.”
It was the first regular season game in a Liberty uniform for forward Marissa Coleman. The league veteran was signed as a free agent. She comes to New York after winning a national title at the University of Maryland and being a go-to player for the Washington Mystics, Los Angeles Sparks and Indiana Fever.
“It was a close one,” said Coleman. “It was a lot of our mistakes. A lot of second chance points for them gave them some confidence and we fell short.”
Coleman said her goal and the goal of every player on the team is to win a championship. That is one of the main reasons she’s come to New York. She feels the Liberty has the pieces to accomplish the goal. Her only previous teammate is guard Shavonte Zellous, but Coleman is certainly familiar with most of the players and their playing styles.
“With this being my 10th year, [I bring] leadership,” said Coleman. “I’ve been on teams that have gone far in the playoffs and teams that haven’t even made the playoffs, so I’ve been on both ends. I know what it takes to compete to win a championship.”
Coleman comes into the season on fresh legs and excited to get back on the court. She decided to forgo playing overseas during the offseason to give her body a rest as well as fine tune her game and develop new skills.
“I have that love for the game,” she said. “You put so much work in, sacrifice so much for this game. I think that’s what keeps everyone going. You miss out on a lot of things. You wouldn’t be doing it unless you loved it.”
Several key Liberty players were not on court in the game against the Sky, either because of overseas commitments or injury. The Liberty’s home opener is this Friday at Westchester County Center versus the reigning WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx.