WHAT IT MEANS: The Liberty had just had their four-game winning snapped by blowing a fourth quarter lead to Connecticut, so let’s face, it was nice for the Liberty to see Tulsa, a team with only one win this season, come into Newark on Sunday.
New York has won seven of its last nine games after disposing of the Shock, 88-57, at the Prudential Center. The Liberty finished its four-game home stand with a 3-1 record.
Tulsa has now dropped nine straight, and has yet to win a game on the road. The Shock even lost their head coach, Nolan Richardson, who stepped down on July 9 with a record of 7-38 in just over one season.
“We played with more energy,” coach John Whisenant said. “Our feet were alive. We didn’t have our mud boots on. I told the team just now that I don’t have a secret to unlock your energy. But when we play with energy and determination we’re a pretty good team.”
STAR OF THE GAME: The last time New York played the Shock, it was looking to rebound from a four-game skid and essentially trying to turn the season around. The Liberty have seen strong games from a handful of players since then. This time they got another big performance from center Kia Vaughn, who posted 15 points and eight rebounds. She had 15 points and nine rebounds against Connecticut.
Cappie Pondexter led the team with 18 points and three assists. Pondexter said that her grandmother told her to be more aggressive after Pondexter scored just 11 points against the Sun, her first in nine game with less than 18 points.
“When my grandmother speaks, I have to do what she says,” Pondexter said.
PIERSON BACK IN THE LINEUP: Plenette Pierson was back in action after missing the Connecticut game with a strained knee suffered Wednesday against Atlanta. The blowout win gave her a chance for some extra rest. She scored 12 points with four boards in 15 minutes.
PUT A LID ON IT: Tulsa came into the game ranked last in the league in points per game (70.86) and last in field goal percentage, shooting .391 percent from the field as a team. It’s no wonder Tulsa shot 33.9 percent from the field and missed 18 of 22 from behind the arc. The Shock managed six third-quarter points.
FINALLY, A RING FOR T-SPOON: All-time fan favorite Teresa Weatherspoon became the second players inducted into the Liberty’s “Ring of Honor” and accolade that represents retired players who have made significant contributions to the Liberty and growth of the WNBA. The Liberty inducted Vickie Johnson on July 1.
Weatherspoon lead the Liberty at point guard from 1997-2003 and helped lead New York to the WNBA Finals in the league’s inaugral season. The Liberty made the WNBA Finals five times in the league's first six years.
“I never played the game for any individual accolades,” she said during her speech at halftime. “I never played the game in that fashion. I played because it was my passion, it was my talent, it was my gift.”
Weatherspoon also said that she believes that this year’s Liberty team could go all the way. She said it would be almost as special now, to watch the Liberty win a championship in their 15th season, as it would have to win while she was still in a Liberty uniform.
“For it to happen, we would probably be just as elated as they are because we are forever connected,” she said. “Believe it or not, we’re forever connected.”