NEWARK, NJ – The WNBA schedule shows a break from mid-July through mid-August.
The respite is due to the London Olympics and for the New York Liberty it couldn’t be any more opportune.
Sunday’s 94-81 loss to the San Antonio Silver Stars at the Prudential Center dropped New York to 6-10 on the season. Beyond the record, the Liberty need the time to heal.
Plenette Pierson is still sidelined – her return could come as the festivities in London are winding down. Kia Vaughn is still out after suffering a concussion against Seattle eight days ago. Now DeMya Walker is sidelined. She injured her right knee on Sunday.
The Liberty media relations personnel said Walker was still under evaluation so the extent of her injury was still uncertain. The Liberty are not only down in available inside players but sheer numbers as well.
“It’s hard to practice,” Liberty coach John Whisenant stated. “We do a lot of free throw shooting and walk-throughs. We don’t have the numbers for a full fledged practice.”
And that was before Walker went down.
“We have a lot going on,” guard Cappie Pondexter said post game in the Liberty locker room. “We just need that time off to get everyone at full strength. I’m sure we will be improved the second half. I’m confident we can be a playoff team.”
Essence Carson reiterated Pondexter’s assessment. Vaughn, Pierson and Walker have to get back at full strength. Kara Braxton was the main inside player for the Liberty on Sunday. She scored 2 points on one of seven shooting. She did add eight rebounds.
“Kara (Braxton) had a tough time shooting,” Carson said. “She did rebound very well for us. We have confidence in her and feel she will continue to help.”
Nicole Powell contributed a little outside (12 points on four treys) and inside (6 rebounds). Having healthy players providing assistance and depth up front is a necessity.
Regardless of the personnel situation and injury list, Whisenant saw the game decided more on San Antonio’s fire power.
“They are a good shooting team,” he said of the Silver Stars. “We tried to block the lane and let them settle for threes but they hit some (threes) with people coming out and guarding them closely.”
The Western Conference’s second place team, now 11-5, shot 38 of 69 (55 %) from the field. They were 11-for-29 (37%) from long range. Four were in double figures paced by Jia Perkins with 24 points. The veteran guard out of Texas Tech did appreciable damage (7 points, three steals) the fourth quarter as San Antonio built on a four point lead and essentially pulled away. Becky Hammon, drawing applause from Liberty fans, added 23 points while distributing 6 assists. Sophia Young, the team’s leading scorer (16.8 ppg) added 21. Carson paced all scorers with 25 points while Pondexter chipped in with 23 for the Liberty.
“It’s tough to lose a game where you shot well as a team,” Pondexter added. The Liberty were 30 of 65 (46%) from the floor. They connected on a torrid 13 of 20 (65%) from long distance. As Pondexter noted, “you look at the box score and see other things.”
Like the 21 turnovers that led to 28 San Antonio points.
That last item told you about as much as was needed to know of this game as did the Liberty injury report and the San Antonio offense.