San Antonio’s lack of defense key to New York road victory
The veteran stars of San Antonio (2-2) failed to help the team secure a victory for the struggling franchise Friday night. The New York Liberty (2-2) beat the Silver Stars 77-71 in front of a crowd of 5,293 at the AT&T Center.
Silver Stars head coach Sandy Brondello cited her teamâ€™s lack of defensive effort as a major culprit in the loss.
â€œI was a disappointed in the result,â€ said Brondello. â€œLike I said to the girls at half-time you canâ€™t rest on what you did last game. Weâ€™ve got to move forward and every game you play in the WNBA, youâ€™ve got to be at your best. We werenâ€™t at our best today, especially in defense. I told them from the start it wasnâ€™t about offense, it was about defense. We just had too many breakdowns on pick and roll schemes in our rotations and over help.â€
The Liberty’s newly acquired star Cappie Pondexter had 21 points, six rebounds and seven assists. For the Silver Stars, Sophia Young led with 17 points while recent addition veteran Chamique Holdsclaw added 16. San Antonio’s wily guard Becky Hammon finished with 15 points and eight assists.
â€œI think tonight was a battle of two great teams as it came down to execution at the end,â€ said Liberty head coach Anne Donovan. â€œBecky had a great second half as we knew she would come back strong and she did. Defensively we wanted to make them get some different looks and just trying to get some stops, which we did.â€
Pondexter was happy with her teamâ€™s 40 minute resilience.
â€œOur last two previous losses, we didnâ€™t get the stops we needed in the fourth quarter,â€ she said. â€œI think today all eleven of us focused in and made the stops when we needed them which got us the win.â€
San Antonio made a run in the fourth quarter connecting on back-to-back threes from Roneeka Hodges and Becky Hammon with 1:54 remaining in the game to bring them within two, 71-69, but was unable to overcome New Yorkâ€™s defense.
â€œWe built a big enough lead at times to withstand some of their runs as theyâ€™re a great team,â€ said New Yorkâ€™s Janel McCarville. â€œThey have Becky Hammon and Sophia who are all-stars on their team, so we know that theyâ€™re going to make runs. I think the biggest thing we did when they made their runs was to make stops and keep the lead to ourselves and continue to build it back up. We really tried to limit Becky Hammon from getting touches as we wanted her to work for everything she could, and making Sophia Young work for everything as well. Theyâ€™re both great players but you have to make their points as tough as possible to come by.â€
In addition to Pondexter, three other Liberty starters scored in double figures: Nicole Powell (15), Janel McCarville (13), Taj McWilliams (11).
- The Liberty dominated the offensive boards scoring 20 points off of second chance opportunities. Additionally, the Liberty pulled down 60.5 % of their total rebounds with the Silver Stars only grabbing 39.4%.
- After allowing San Antonio to cut the lead to three at the end of the third (57-54), New York went on a 7-0 run to open the fourth quarter.
- The Liberty also outscored the Silver Stars in points in the paint, 36-28.
- New York led by as many as 10 points in the game, and finished the game on a 6-2 run to seal the victory.
- San Antonio was outdone 12-8 in fast break points and also lost the rebound battle, 38-25.
- Rookie Jayne Appel made her first appearance as a Silver Star with 2:36 remaining in the third quarter, picking up an assist to Helen Darling who knocked down the three to tie the game 53-53 with one minute remaining in the quarter.
- Ruth Riley scored a season-high 11 points off the bench. She shot 5-of-5 from the field including 1-of-1 from the three-point line.