New York Liberty Preview: Week 2

New York hope to bounce back after 2 straight opening losses.

The Liberty have only played two games this season, but they will look back on those losses as games they could have won. The season opener against the Sky came down to a dismal third quarter in which they only scored 11 points, and no one score more than 20 points for the game. The home opener against the Lynx also came down to a disappointing quarter. This time it was the closing minutes of the fourth that meant the Liberty would go to the locker rooms empty-handed in a game in which they were leading late and should have closed out.   Tina Charles continues to be the offensive engine and heart of this team, but she hasn't gotten a lot of great help from her longtime veteran teammates so far. Neither Sugar Rodgers or Shevonte Zellous have scored more than 9 points in either game, and it looks as though rookie Kia Nurse may well be the new number two option offensively. Nurse is averaging 11.4 points so far at 48% shooting, and if she can continue to put up good numbers, it looks like she may be like one of the many WNBA rookies before her that came in the league and immediately made a positive impact on their team. 

Marissa Coleman looks like a pretty decent offseason acquisition, and she and the other veterans on this team could very well continue to improve as the season goes on. But they will need more out of players like Kiah Stokes, Bria Hartley, and Rebecca Allen. Kia Vaughn is back, but Epiphanny Prince, Sugar Rodgers, and Brittany Boyd will be all likely out for the game against Dallas. The Wings so far look like a better team, but the Liberty could pull out a win at home, and they are going to need a win soon before things really start to spiral out of control. With all of the offseason turmoil, one has to wonder how much of an effect that is having on the players mentally. Either way, they will hope to get Prince and Rodgers back as soon as they can, as they have both been key players for this team the past few seasons. The only other game this week is against the Fever on Saturday, which should be a win as the Fever look even more lost, as one would expect, than the Liberty. 

The most important thing to look for with the Liberty at this point in the season is if Charles can continue to play as well as she has in the past, anchoring a team that clearly relies heavily on her talent on both ends of the floor. The other key factor early on to look at is Kia Nurse.  If she continues to be the second best option offensively,  the question becomes whether or not she can she maintain consistency with her scoring. She may well see some rookie ups and downs, and if that is the case, other players, especially the veterans are going to need to step up to replace her offense. The defense needs to stay sound as well. The defense has been a signature of this team for several years, and I don't know if new head coach Katie Smith will place as much as an emphasis on it this season, but she ought to. 

With only two games this week, the Liberty can look to regroup after their back to back losses and get at least one win before the competition gets a lot tougher in June. 

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