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Liberty begin key stretch in push for playoff spot

Posted: September 2, 2012 at 1:11 am

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Liberty entered the weekend one-half game out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. With six of their last nine games at home, they know this is the time to make their big push.

The Liberty have struggled for consistency all season, winning three games in a row just once while losing at least three straight three times. However, this final stretch is their best chance for a run with six games against teams owning worse records, and one against Chicago – which is just ahead of them in the East.

”Washington might catch one of us but probably can’t catch both of us,” Liberty coach John Whisenant said. ”We’ve fought through a lot of our hard schedule.”

New York (9-16) has three games remaining with the Mystics, who are last in the East, starting Saturday at the Prudential Center. The Liberty also have two against Tulsa and one against Phoenix, and -along with the Mystics – those three teams are a combined 16-58.

”Sometimes we have as much trouble with Washington and Tulsa as we do with (first-place) Connecticut,” Whisenant said. ”They’re still hard to (beat). They have good players. They’ve had their own injury problems, their own karma problems, and if you catch them at the right time they’ll get us. … We’ve just got to keep plugging away.”

The Liberty came off a nine-day road trip in which they lost three of five, and opened a stretch of six straight at home with a 76-63 loss to second-place Indiana on Thursday night – giving them their latest three-game skid.

Cappie Pondexter pointed to fatigue from the travel in the recent road swing for the team’s struggles against Indiana, in a game New York trailed by one early in the fourth quarter before being outscored 25-12 the rest of the way. New York’s trip started in Connecticut on Aug. 18 and went through Chicago and Phoenix before finishing up with back-to-back games in Los Angeles and Seattle last weekend.

”Everybody looked a step slow,” Pondexter said. ”It’s hard coming off the road, from west to east, six games in nine days against great teams. … We had one day to prepare for another great team.”

The star guard also knows this upcoming stretch is critical to the Liberty’s postseason chances.

”We need all these games at home because playing at home is a different kind of energy because you’re not travelling as much as the other team,” she said. ”Next game against Washington, if we don’t think they’re going to come in and try to win and spoil our playoff hopes, we don’t deserve to be there.”

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Liberty begin key stretch in push for playoff spot

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Liberty look to catch winning Fever

Posted: June 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm

After the Liberty lost its opener, 78-73 to the Connecticut Sun in the Garden, coach John Whisenant said he liked his team. Judging by the way they have played, one must ask if the players like him.

The Liberty (0-4) is one of just three winless teams in the WNBA and the prospects for a first win are grim.

They play at the Indiana Fever (3-0), one of three undefeated teams, Saturday night (7 p.m, not on television). The teams then do it again Sunday night at the Prudential Center.

The Liberty have never opened a season 0-5. Worse, they have shown no signs of improving. After dropping the opener by five, the Liberty lost a rematch with the Sun in Connecticut by 15 (92-77). Then came an 18-point loss to the Minnesota Lynx, the defending WNBA champs. And the most recent loss was a 26-point blowout in Atlanta, 100-74, to the Dream.

No doubt the Liberty have played a brutally tough schedule. But this franchise, still searching for its first league title, has played tough schedules before.

This is Whisenants second season with the Liberty. The franchise believed one of the greatest players in womens basketball history Carol Blazejowski had taken the team as far as it could go. She was the GM from Day 1.

The Liberty went 19-15 last season and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. The early part of the season was focused on learning Whisenants new systems. This season he incorporated some of former Knicks coach Mike DAntonis offense. But the Liberty is averaging just 71.5 points per game, third worst in the league. and they are dead last in point differantial (-16), allowing 87.5 points.


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