May 7, 2017 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - New York Liberty
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Despite 20 points and 9 rebounds from All-Star Tina Charles the New York Liberty fell to the Connecticut Sun 79-57 in its 2017 preseason finale on Sunday afternoon at Levien Gymnasium on the campus of Columbia University. It was the 2nd-straight season the Liberty hosted a preseason contest at Columbia open exclusively for season ticket holders.
It was the team's final warmup before the 2017 season opener next Saturday, May 13, against the San Antonio Stars at Madison Square Garden at 3 p.m.
New York fell behind 21-5 after the 1st quarter of play, but then Charles took over in the 2nd period to pull her squad back into it. Charles scored 15 of her game-high 20 points in the 2nd, going 5-of-6 from the field. After falling behind 29-16, Charles led a 7-0 run, capped off by a bucket in the paint to make it a two-possession game at 29-23.
The Liberty trailed by 10 at the end of the 1st half, and the Sun opened the 3rd quarter on an 8-2 run, powered by 5 points from Jasmine Thomas, including a 3-pointer at 8:24 that made it 45-29.
Charles was the only Liberty player to finish in double figures. Bria Hartley scored 9 points and knocked down a trey. In her 1st action since rejoining the team Amanda Zahui B scored 4 points with 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and two steals.
New York was plagued by turnovers in the loss, giving it away 23 times, which led to 25 points for the Sun; Connecticut was +14 in points off turnovers in the win.
â¢ Tina Charles was one rebound shy of a double-double, scoring 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting in 21 minutes of playing time. She was also 8-of-9 at the free throw line
â¢ Amanda Zahui B had a team-high 3 assists for the Liberty, her 1st preseason game since joining the team earlier this week
â¢ Morgan Tuck scored 20 points to lead the Sun
â¢ New York shot just 1-of-10 from 3-point range with Bria Hartley hitting the team's only triple
â¢ The Liberty was outrebounded for a 2nd-straight game, with the Sun winning on the glass 38-35
New York Liberty Quotes
Head Coach Bill Laimbeer
On his overall assessment of tonight's game:
"We didn't play well, they were more physical. We need to be a little tougher mentally and physically as a group but we didn't have all of our players. It's still not an excuse but it is a reality. We'll start filtering them in on Monday and Tuesday so it'll give us a little bit more offensive fire power."
On if the team realized that their effort and intensity needed to be better:
"Our intensity was okay, it's just the physicality bothered us tonight. They were a very physical basketball team today, we didn't match that and that's the way the league is moving. And like I said, some of our other players that will come in, have a veteranship about them and they're a little bit more physical basketball players."
On Tonight's Game
"We got punched...we pretty much got punched first. We kind of let them run over us. Tina tried...she pretty much told us this is unacceptable, and I think that gave us some energy and you know we tried to come out and play New York basketball and do what we do, but we can't allow people to hit us first."
On the team's overall preseason performance
"The positives are that everything that is negative we can control. We can do better. Every team in the league is good. We can't overlook one team. If we're not physical, if we're not tough enough, then it's going to be a long season. But, again those are the things we're able to control."
Connecticut Sun Quotes
Head Coach Curt Miller
"I thought we came out with a physicality. We view New York as the most physical team in the league and even though they are obviously without some [players] that will be on their final roster we wanted to see if we could be physical with them because we respect how they play. We respect how physical they were against us last year. I like that we came out and we were the aggressors and set the tone that way; but we have to find that fine balance. I didn't take some players out with foul trouble and that wouldn't happen in a regular season game, so we have to find that balance. I think we can be a physical unit, that first unit of ours, but we have to do it without fouling."
Assessment Of 3-0 Preseason & Looking To Regular Season:
"We're the youngest team in the league and we're still without some pieces...most team in the league, not all, but most teams have an idea of who their 12 [players] are. We still have some tough decisions to make down the stretch this last week. If they put on my tombstone that I'm 6-0 in exhibitions, that's the only thing I can claim right now and we don't want to claim that. We know [being undefeated in preseason] means nothing and we know how difficult our first month and a half is. We have so many road games out of the gate, eight of our first 12 are on the road...it won't be easy with a young team so there's a sense of urgency. We have a brutal stretch so we'll have to go steal a couple of road wins early in the season or we'll be right back in the same position we were last year."
On team's performance
"We were really good defensively, especially the first quarter and that's something that coach has really stressed, that we play really good defense. It was really good to see everyone play good defense tonight."