New York Liberty Preview: Week 3

The Liberty look to get above .500 with two tough games this week.

As I talked about in my article about Tina Charles and Kia Nurse over the weekend, the Liberty are struggling offensively. At this early point in the season, they are simply a middling team that needs more from everyone across the board if they want to get to a winning record. Last week they got their first two wins of the year, but those wins did not come easy. It took an 18 point fourth-quarter from Tina Charles, who scored a season and game-high 34 points along with 10 rebounds to help beat the Wings in Westchester, 94-89. Shevonte Zellous had a season-best 19 points and 9 assists. Kia Nurse put up 11 points and Marissa Coleman had 12 points and 4 steals.

On Thursday on the road at Indiana, it was rookie Kia Nurse's time to shine with 34 points, including 15-16 from the free throw line and 3 three-pointers, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Tina Charles added 23 points and 10 rebounds while Zellous added 17 points. The Liberty were pushed defensively and had to go to overtime to win 87-81 thanks to rookie Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell's 26 point performance.    

This week's games aren't going to be any easier. New York is going up against a Mercury team that has shown flashes of its former glory in several games this season. Their best win came on the road last Friday night against the Lynx, where Griner, Bonner, and Taurasi all scored over 20 points. They beat Minnesota for the first time since 2015, after losing the last 13 straight to the defending champions. The Mercury have had an up and down, yet winning season so far as they sit at 4-3. Tina Charles will have to step up once again to do battle with Brittney Griner, and the rest of the team will really need to be on their A game to get a win. 

The same can be said for Thursday night's matchup against this season's best team so far: the Connecticut Sun. Jasmine Thomas and company is leading the league in points per game, field goal percentage, rebounds per game, assists per game, and they are second in steals per game and fourth in blocks per game. However, it should be pointed out that they are yet to play the best teams in the league at full strength. For the Liberty though, this will be a tough task, as I believe Connecticut is poised for a real run at the Finals this year. 

If Kia Nurse can continue to play as well as she has, and Charles wins a few more Eastern Conference Player of Week awards like she did for her performances last week, it could be an interesting next few weeks. Sugar Rodgers and Brittany Boyd look to return this week, but Prince is still out with a concussion. If they can get everyone healthy again, New York has a chance to stay competitive in the first full month of 2018.  

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