WNBA

Liberty-Storm Preview

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The New York Liberty haven't been able to solve the turnover troubles that have plagued them in the early going.

They also haven't been able to figure out how to win in Washington State throughout most of their history.

The slumping Liberty look to take better care of the basketball and snap an eight-game road skid against the Storm on Friday night.

New York (4-4), which has committed a WNBA-worst 19.5 turnovers per game, finished with 17 in an 87-74 loss to Chicago on Wednesday.

"We went back to the ways we had in the first part of the season - turning the ball over and we're not good enough to turn the ball over like we did in spurts,'' said coach Bill Laimbeer, whose team has committed 38 giveaways while dropping its last two games.

Guard Cappie Pondexter had 21 points and finished with one turnover in the opener of a four-game trip after accounting for a team-worst seven in a 78-77 loss to San Antonio on Sunday.

Pondexter, the team leader with 17.0 points per game, has averaged 20.0 in her last three contests. She scored a game-high 23 in an 84-66 loss in the team's last trip to Seattle on Aug. 26.

New York, 0-3 away from home, hasn't beaten the Storm (4-4) on the road since a 67-62 victory at Spokane Arena on June 26, 2004. The Liberty's last victory at Seattle was May 30, 2002, and New York is 3-9 all-time on the road in the series.

While they won't have to deal with injured stars Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson, who combined for 34 points in the last meeting, the Liberty will have to contend with forwards Tina Thompson and Camille Little.

Both players, however, are coming off rough performances. Little averaged 17.7 points during a three-game winning streak but matched a season low with six in a 92-70 loss at Tulsa on Saturday.

Thompson scored a season-low three points and shot 1 of 8 against the Shock. The WNBA's all-time leading scorer had averaged 22.7 during the win streak.

Seattle will be playing its lone home game in a seven-game span.

"We have to survive this stretch,'' coach Brian Agler said.

The Liberty may be able to improve their ballhandling in this game as the Storm have forced only nine turnovers in each of their last two. Seattle has also allowed at least 86 points in its past three contests.

Already without forward Essence Carson following season-ending knee surgery Wednesday, New York could be missing post player Plenette Pierson after she injured her right knee against the Sky.



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