Key Takeaways: Liberty continue winning ways against Stars

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 1: Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 1: Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe /

The New York Liberty defeated the San Antonio Stars 81-69 at The Garden Friday night. The win extends New York’s active winning streak to nine games ahead of Sunday’s season finale in Dallas. Here are takeaways from the Liberty win.

Peaking at the right time

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Slightly over a month ago, New York lost a heartbreaking game to Minnesota on the road.  The 76-75 loss to the Lynx put the Liberty at 10-10 for the season. The Liberty would drop two games to Los Angeles and San Antonio a week later to settle at 12-12 with ten games left. New York has not lost since August 4 heading into the final game of the season on Sunday.

Bench players were clutch again in the win over San Antonio, scoring 27 of the Liberty’s 81 points. Rebecca Allen drained a jumper early in the second quarter to give New York a lead they would not relinquish. “The great thing about these wins is that everyone has had their imprint on these wins,” Tina Charles told The Summit. She finished tied in most Liberty points (16) with guard Epiphanny Prince.

All season we at The Summitt have sung the praises of Charles’ consistency for New York.  Lately, the Liberty have proven that other players can and will step-up for the team. “This isn’t [my] team, this is the New York Liberty,” said Charles. All season she has reminded her teammates to step-up when called upon.

Playoff picture

From here, the Liberty will travel to Dallas for one more regular season game before preparing for the playoffs. Both teams have already clinched a playoff spot, but are still vying for post season position.

“We’re going to focus on ourselves the first day-and-a-half because we don’t know who we’re playing,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer post game.  From there, the team will focus on the specific game plan for next Sunday.

The Liberty will use their time off to reflect on the ups and downs of the season. All in all, New York enters Sunday with a 21-12 season and likely in part to playing more relaxed. “We feel good, we’re having fun,” said forward Shavonte Zellous.  “I think we lost sight of that a couple of months ago.”

The 2012 WNBA champion also alluded that the team is aiming to make a playoff run, not just a playoff appearance. “Last year we didn’t end [the season] the way we wanted to,” said Zellous.  “Our mentality is really locking in on what we need to do to take care of business so we don’t have the outcome that we did last year.”

To do that, New York needs all eleven players ready to contribute at full capacity. Expect players like Sugar Rodgers, Kiah Stokes, and Bria Hartley to be big contributors for New York on Sunday and throughout the playoffs. That trio along with the rest of the Liberty team is ready to make their mark history.

“I think the best line for this team is, we started off uncertain and we definitely want to finish unforgettable,” said Tina Charles. “I think we’re along those lines right now.”