Sun, Liberty both aiming to bounce back (Jun 06, 2018)
The Connecticut Sun and the New York Liberty both exited the court feeling disappointment on Tuesday.
While the Sun (5-1) were handed their first loss of the season, the Liberty could not execute down the stretch in another close game.
Both teams will be looking for redemption Thursday when the Sun visits the Liberty at the Westchester County Civic Center in White Plains, N.Y.
Connecticut is coming off its first loss after opening the season with five straight wins by an average of 21 points. On Tuesday, the Sun shot 36 percent from the floor in an 82-77 loss at Atlanta during the third game of a four-game trip.
Forward Alyssa Thomas posted 19 points and tied a career high with 17 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. She has reached double figures in each game and leads the team by averaging 14.7 points.
Connecticut's performance Tuesday also played into coach Curt Miller's concerns about fatigue setting in.
"Without question, I'm concerned," Miller told reporters after a blowout win in Washington on Sunday. "That's why the start of the road trip is so important. We've guaranteed ourselves no less than a .500 road trip in these four games.
"When you have five games in the first nine days (of June), you know that there will be some nights where you just don't have your legs."
The Liberty are off to an uneven 2-3 start, with each game being decided by single digits. After getting a home win over the Dallas Wings last week and winning at Indiana on Saturday, New York dropped an 80-74 decision to the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
Tina Charles led the Liberty with 25 points and moved past Sheryl Swoopes for 19th place on the WNBA's all-time scoring list with 4,891 points. Charles, however, shot an inefficient 12 of 25 from the floor and other issues resulted in Tuesday's loss.
New York committed 17 turnovers that led to 18 points. The Liberty also did not score for the final 3:23.
"We know every game is going to be close," New York point guard Bria Hartley said. "So, we've just got to work on finishing out tough games like this."
In their three losses, the Liberty have shot 38.3 percent (84 of 219) but Tuesday's loss was tough to accept for New York due to a commanding 39-21 edge on the glass. In its first two losses, New York was outrebounded by an 87-64 margin.
"We've shown we can play with anybody, but we have to make plays," Liberty coach Katie Smith said after her team allowed Phoenix to shoot at least 50 percent in three of four quarters and 50 percent overall. "We're going to have to hit shots and get that defensive stop when needed."
The teams split four meetings last season, with New York getting an 82-70 victory at Connecticut on Aug. 18. Charles finished with 24 points for New York while the Sun made 34.3 percent of their shots.