Still looking to fix their turnover troubles, the New York Liberty can't afford to be giving the high-scoring Phoenix Mercury extra possessions.
The Liberty will attempt to limit their mistakes Tuesday night as they look for their first back-to-back road wins of the season against the surging Mercury.New York (5-4), averaging a WNBA-worst 19.8 turnovers, overcame 21 Friday to pull out a 67-62 victory at Seattle for its first road win in four tries.Despite shooting 9 of 24 from the field and giving it away four times, Cappie Pondexter helped the Liberty recover with a game-high 23 points."That's the most frustrating thing as a coach to ever go through, to see the players just turn the ball over and many of them were just ridiculous turnovers," coach Bill Laimbeer said. "But our defense again is carrying us at the moment and, hopefully, it doesn't catch up to us at some point."Laimbeer's club ranks third in the league with 73.6 points allowed and has limited opponents to a WNBA-best 37.0 percent shooting. The Liberty held the Storm to 33.8 percent from the field, including 1 of 18 from 3-point range.New York, however, may be facing its toughest challenge against a Phoenix team that averages a league-best 86.4 points and has won four straight games.Diana Taurasi, the league's scoring leader at 23.6 points per game, and DeWanna Bonner had 19 while Candice Dupree had 18 to lead the Mercury to an 89-70 victory at Connecticut on Saturday.Since starting 0-3 while slowing down their pace to get Brittney Griner involved inside, Phoenix (7-4) has won seven of eight after going back to the up-tempo style that was the trademark of two championship teams.The Mercury haven't won five in a row since a six-game run July 1-15, 2011."We never had a big player of that caliber before," coach Corey Gaines said of Griner. "Everybody else took a back seat and we weren't running. After the third game, we had a team meeting and said, `forget all that and let's get back to run and gun, shoot the ball, jack it up."The Liberty may be able to improve their ballhandling in this game as the Mercury have forced the league's second-fewest turnovers at 11.2 per game. Phoenix also has given up a league-high 84.8 points per contest.New York hopes to get forward Plenette Pierson back after she missed Friday's game with a right knee injury. Pierson finished with a team-high 17 points in just 18 minutes of an 87-59 home win over the Mercury in September.The Liberty have won their last two trips to Phoenix, including an 89-77 victory last season. Pondexter had 31 points in that meeting, while Bonner led the Mercury with 34.