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Post-Game Quotes: Connecting with the New York Liberty

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Recently acquired New York Liberty forward Plenette Pierson said after the loss, "I’m not satisfied, and I don’t think anybody else on this team is satisfied." <em>Photo by LJRotter.</em>
Recently acquired New York Liberty forward Plenette Pierson said after the loss, "I’m not satisfied, and I don’t think anybody else on this team is satisfied." Photo by LJRotter.

The New York Liberty (4-7) have just fallen to last place in the Eastern conference. With their loss to the Minnesota Lynx (5-9), the Liberty on a three-game losing skid while the Lynx picked up their third straight victory. On paper, the teams looked relatively even to start, and played similar games. Yet, a few things make this loss quite puzzling.

For one, the Liberty out-rebounded the Lynx on both ends of the floor and scored more points in the paint; both areas of the game that I had written about previously where the Liberty were lacking. According to my theory, improving in those two areas should have guaranteed a win. Unfortunately, the Liberty slipped into a pattern that they have seen in previous games where they lose focus and intensity and allow the other team to pull ahead after the third quarter.

The Lynx led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter, which is where New York fell apart. They had 8 turnovers in the third alone, with a total of 16 turnovers resulting in 25 points for Minnesota. As they did against the Storm in the previous game, the Liberty were able to climb back into the competition, and even took the lead a few times. However they were apparently so drained from having to fight back that they couldn’t sustain the intensity for the entire fourth quarter and let the lead slip away in the last minute. No one on the team seems to understand why the Liberty are incapable of playing a full, 40-minute game. The coach and players hinted at a disconnect between what they talk about and what they actually do in the game, however no one could define what was causing it.

The locker room after the game was a somber place to be, and the players were obviously dissatisfied with the result of the game and their seeming inability to close out strong. I personally am unable to figure out where exactly New York is going wrong, but perhaps, from reading the words straight from their mouths, you’ll be able to put something together where neither I nor they, could not.

Coach Donovan, Pre-Game

 

On Leilani’s contribution to the offense:

“She’s great because she likes to run, and that’s been our theme this year, we wanna push out in transition more.”

On the importance of winning the game:

“Right now we’re a third of the way in, almost, and so we realize at this point we’ve got to really start to make some strides, and start to make the climb. The Eastern conference is certainly competitive this year so every game we play, in particular here in the Garden, it’s imperative to make the most of it.”

On losing two in a row:

“We’ve been taking one step forward, one step back. Two steps forward at one point, now we’ve taken two steps back. So, it’s really, this is a big game for us.”

On why Essence Carson hasn’t been seeing much playing time:

“I think Essence is just trying to find her niche. It’s a different role for he this year, coming off the bench, and Kalana Greene is coming in and playing so well in the exact same position, so I think Essence is still trying to find her niche for us.”

 

Post-Game

On what happened in the third quarter:

“I think we got caught up in trying to run plays, and not taking what they were giving us.”

On a possible lack of communication on the court:

“There was defensively lacking communication. Offensively I don’t necessarily see that, I just think we ran poor offense in the third quarter. But defensively there were lapses where we didn’t communicate and that has been an issue for us.”

On Nicole Powell’s game:

“If you asked me if we were gonna out-rebound this team, if we were gonna limit them to below their average on the offensive boards, which was our goal, keep them below eight, if we were gonna have Nicole Powell show up and play great offense for us, if we were gonna lose this game I would have said no. But that third quarter, and the fact that our bench really struggled tonight, was a problem.”

On the level of concern for where the team is:

“I’m concerned, there’s no lie. I’m concerned. You know we talk in the locker room, we talk in practice, you know, we came back just like we did in the Seattle game with 3 minutes left, it’s a one point game and we’re in the Garden. That’s a game we have to have.”

“We are fighting for games this year, we’re just not finishing it. Some of that is new personnel trying to figure out how to play together, and come crunch time, the bottom line is that there are no excuses at this point, we’ve just got to get it done.”

“Are we fighting to get the win? Yes. When we find ourselves in a hole, are we scrapping and clawing to get back? Yes. Are we finishing games? No. Can we fix that? Yes.”

“I’m positive. I believe in this group. And I believe we’re gonna be a playoff team in the end. And we’re not playing where we need to play yet. If this team is gonna make the playoffs then we’re gonna get it together. So I’m concerned it’s taken us longer than we want.”

 

Center Taj McWilliams-Franklin

On what bothered her about the loss:

“We work so hard in practice over things, and when we come out there’s a disconnect between our practice and our game selves. We had an opportunity to win again, just like Seattle. We keep digging ourselves in holes, we gotta crawl out and scratch out and we don’t have enough energy to finish the games.”

Elaborating on the disconnect:

“We’ve worked extra hard in practice. Extra hard. High intensity level, high energy, talking on defense, and then we get in the game and it’s sometimes hard energy, sometimes not, sometimes good intensity…we have lulls because it’s pro sports. Everybody has lulls. But we have to actually control our lulls and stop their runs and we didn’t do that as well.”

 

Forward Janel McCarville

On why the team can’t play four full quarters:

“You know, it’s just a couple minutes per game that set us back in the loss column. We allow four or five minutes and just let other teams demolish us and then it’s hard for us to come back.”

On whether the team is feeling a sense of urgency:

“At times we have great urgency, especially a great sense of urgency, but other times we don’t. If we could put it together for a 40 minute game and go from there, if we could put one of those together we can build on it. But to this day, even though we got four wins they’re not great 40 minute games.”

On whether there is a lack of communication on the court:

“I think we’re doing alright. You know there’s a little miscommunication here and there, a couple of plays, stretches, where those four to five minutes come into play.”

 

Forward Plenette Pierson

“We’re handling it the best we can. At times we show glimpses that ok, we are gelling and we’re all on the same page, and then we have those mental let downs that we all break off and we’re on different sentences, and different words on the page. So it’s time to pull it together and figure out a way because this is the life of the WNBA, one day a player is here, another day there’s a new player and we just all have to adapt. And we’re all trying hard, we’re working hard, and hopefully these last two games we’ll learn from our mistakes. We’ll learn from the things we did. We out-rebounded them, we had more points in the paint we just didn’t make those stops, and we did make stops then made turnovers after that, so we just have to learn to take care of the ball and settle ourselves down when things aren’t going our way.”

On how she’s feeling about her time in New York so far:

“I’m not too easy about things that have happened thus far. I know I’m just getting here and I’m two days in, and probably like five practices, maybe? But I expect a lot more of myself. I expect to know the plays a little better so I can help the team. I know it’s kind of frustrating when the have to call the play and tell me where I’m supposed to be going as well as dribble the ball and do everything else, so I think that’s kind of hindering them at the same time. But you know, I’m ok with where we are, but I’m not satisfied, and I don’t think anybody else on this team is satisfied. And we just got to look at it- we can’t go anywhere but up from here. We can’t go down, we’ve lost two games since I’ve been here and I think it’s three games… since they last won. But you know, we just gotta go out there and we just gotta fight and mainly we gotta stay together because the five that are on the floor are the ones that are controlling the game. The coaches can call the plays, time outs and all that, but nobody can go out and play but us.”