Liberty-Silver Stars Preview
Despite a challenging season thus far, the San Antonio Silver Stars can head into the All-Star break with two straight victories.
Cappie Pondexter and the New York Liberty have their sights set on doing the same.
San Antonio hosts New York on Thursday looking for its fourth straight win in the series.
At the bottom of the Western Conference, the Silver Stars (5-12) were already struggling without injured stars Becky Hammon and Sophia Young. The injury list grew Friday, with starting forward DeLisha Milton-Jones going down with a right knee problem in a loss to Minnesota.
Even without Milton-Jones, San Antonio managed a 60-52 home win over Connecticut on Saturday that ended a four-game slide.
"With D (Milton-Jones) going out last game, it just seems like it can't get any worse," said guard Jia Perkins, who scored 15 points and shot 7 of 11 against the Sun. "But we're at the end of the rope, so we're just tying a knot and holding on."
With Milton-Jones expected to be out until after the break, the Silver Stars will look to build on a solid defensive showing against Connecticut. They have the worst field-goal percentage defense in the WNBA at 46.8, but held the Sun to 29.2 percent.
"We just gutted it out," coach Dan Hughes said.
The Liberty (7-10) will try to avenge a 78-77 overtime home loss to San Antonio on June 23. Pondexter, named as a starter for her fifth All-Star Game, had 19 points and 11 rebounds but Shenise Johnson hit the winning jumper with 36.1 seconds left.
Pondexter delivered the big shot in a 77-72 win at Indiana on Tuesday - the team's second in eight games - with a fadeaway 3-pointer to give the Liberty a five-point advantage with 40 seconds left.
Fifteen of her 24 points came in the second half as the Liberty erased a 16-point deficit.
"She's always made big shots throughout her career," coach Bill Laimbeer said. "She's not afraid of taking it. I wish we'd got a little bit better shot, but overall, I'll take the ball in her hands every day of the week."
Danielle Robinson, averaging a league-high 6.6 assists, was named a reserve on her first All-Star team Tuesday and will be San Antonio's lone representative in Saturday's game. She had 18 points in the first meeting with New York and matched a career high with five steals.
The Liberty lead the all-time series 17-14.