Brooklyn, NY—After losing the opener against the Washington Mystics 80-64 Friday night, the Liberty knew they had a lot of things to clean up for the Indiana Fever game.
The Liberty looked energetic and ready to play soon as the whistle blew. The NYL managed to slow down rookie Aliyah Boston and the rest of her teammates couldn’t do anything either against the Liberty solid defense. Breanna Stewart set the tone early to down the Indiana Fever (0-2) 87-65 at the Barclays Center Sunday afternoon in front of the announced attendance of 8,575.
Stewart had 45 points and three assists for the game and it carried over to her to teammates. The Fever didn’t have a answer for Stewart at all.
The Liberty came out firing out on all cylinders and ran the score up to 15-4 with 6:48 in the first quarter forcing head coach Christie Sides to call a timeout immediately. The Fever must of slept walked through the timeout because they kept leaving Stewart open and she made them pay dearly. Stewart had 19 points going into the second, NYL built a 35-14 advantage going into the next frame.
Stewart took some of the pressure off Sabrina Ionescu by bringing the ball up the court and running their offensive sets which freed up Courtney Vandersloot and Ionescu. Stewart was on fire in the first half, she was (10-12) from the hardwood with 29 points going into the break— put on a shooting clinic in the second, the Fever did not contest perimeter shots well in the extra frame.
NYL owned the paint scoring 22 points on the blocks and had 11 second chance points—cruised to 62-35 lead at the break.
Indiana shot 28.2 percent (11-39) from the field and they shot 22.2 percent (2-9) from downtown which helped the Liberty to build their sizable lead in the half. Plus the Fever inability to guard the 3-point line was there achilles heel throughout the game.
“We’re trying to be so unselfish that we’re passing up really good shots,”Liberty Courtney Vandersloot said. “That comes along with the learning curve. But we’ve all been playing this game for so long, and we have a good sense of what’s a good shot, and we trust in one another that we’re going to take the right shot.”
The Liberty finished on 36.2% (11-39) shooting from the court, 40.0% (10-25) from downtown in the first half. New York was in a grove and they ran off the energy of the home crowd.
New York went on a 13-5 run from the 5:12 mark of the third to the 8:55 mark of the fourth period and never looked back. Substituting all of the eligible reserve players on the bench.
The Liberty finished on 48.5% (33-68) shooting from the hardwood, 48.3% (14-29) from beyond the arc, and 90.9% (10-11) at the charity stripe.
Jonquel Jones took rookie center Aliyah Boston out of the game early scored 14 points for the Liberty.
“We understand that we can score from all positions, everywhere on the floor,” coach Sandy Brondello said. “When Stewie’s shooting like that, it opens up the floor for everyone .This is a standard now. We know that we’re capable of playing like this, and we’re holding ourselves to the standard every single night.”
NaLyssa Smith was the lead scorer with 16 points and Aliyah Boston chipped in 15 with 4 rebounds for the Indiana Fever.
The Liberty will be home Saturday, May 27 against the Connecticut Sun for a 1:00 P.M. start time.