In the first game of the season, the New York Liberty were in the game early and eventually faded in the second half. The second game of the season started out differently but ended with the same results against the Dallas Wings.
The free-flowing offense seemed a little disjointed as the Liberty were down 37-26 early in the second as they would eventually fall 93-80.
Rookie Sabrina Ionescu was a bright spot early, as she had 21 of the Liberty’s 42 points at half, including three 3-pointers after an 0/8 performance behind the arc in her debut. Ionescu would finish with 33 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, which ultimately were not enough to pull off the win.
Coach Walt Hopkins was encouraged by Ionescu’s performance.
“She had a heck of a game. She did everything she could to get our offense going, same thing she essentially did in the last game,” stated Hopkins. “She saw we needed a boost offensively and she went out and created one. The shots fell tonight.”
Unfortunately, the performance she had was for naught as the Liberty gave up nearly 100 points against a Dallas team that’s almost as young as they are.
“Our defense definitely regressed from last game,” said Hopkins
Ionescu, for her part, is still hanging in there. Despite all the success she comes from at the University of Oregon, she is being patient .
“Not happy that we didn’t win. It’s gonna take time, we are still getting to know each other, said Ionescu”
The play from the first half of the first game and the last six quarters have been totally different and that can be attributed to a young team, which New York is the youngest team in the WNBA. Center Amanda Zahui B. feels it was more than just youth on the change in this team, more specifically this game versus the Wings.
“We didn’t execute and we knew they were a running team and we just went away from the game plan,” stated Zahhi B. “We did a great job in the first quarter and they became more aggressive and we became more passive.”
Being tougher was something coach Hopkins spoke about as well, so it will be interesting to see how the Liberty take this loss, digest it and come out the next time they play. They will attempt to get their first win of the season on Friday versus the Atlanta Dream at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.