Superteam in progress? Liberty routed in opener-News

Known as the “superteam” coming into the WNBA season, the New York Liberty showed they are still a work in progress after an 80-64 loss in the opener Washington Mystics Friday night.

No team has lost a season opener by 16 points and won the WNBA title, according to ESPN Stats & Information. But the point guard Courtney Vandersloot he said Liberty is nowhere near “panic by any means.”

“It’s got to be encouraging,” Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said. “I wish we could have had a longer camp with our whole team. … We can learn a lot from this. The team with the most chemistry won tonight. We weren’t the best, and they were the best.”

Indeed, New York looked like a team with a few new players still getting back into the basketball groove, while DC looked like a unit that has played together for years. After all, four of his first five were part of his winning streak in 2019.

“This was a big lesson for us,” Vandersloot said. “What a great test for us to start the season and play a team like this that hit on all cylinders tonight.”

In Brooklyn, outdoor weather supplements Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones and Vandersloot saw little action in training camp, taking the field for the first time this week. Jones, who was traded to New York in January, is recovering from a foot injury, while Stewart, who signed with the Liberty in free agency, rested in parts of the camp coming from Turkey. Vandersloot, also an undrafted free agent, missed time after suffering a concussion early in camp.

Jones and Vandersloot were both on minute restrictions Friday, seeing the floor for 19 and 27 minutes, respectively.

The lack of chemistry and rust was on display Friday, as the Liberty shot 34% from the field compared to 45.7% by the Mystics. The Liberty also went 7-for-31 from three-point range and had 22 turnovers. Washington took advantage of New York’s mistakes, controlling the open field with 16 fast-break points.

“At the end of the day, the way we build chemistry, we have a better understanding of our mistakes and the roles we want to put each of us, everything will take care of itself,” Liberty guard. Sabrina Ionescu he said. “It starts with me and Courtney being the leaders and taking ownership of handling the ball and holding everyone accountable. We pushed a little bit.”

Ionescu, the former No. 1 pick, led all scorers with 18 points, while Stewart (12 points) and Bethany Laney (10) plus 22.

The Liberty are hoping for some success before the home opener on Sunday at 2pm ET.

“We shot well,” Ionescu said. “We have shots that we know we’re going to make, and we’re going to make them and bring them that Sunday.”

Putting aside the growing pains of Freedom, this play was a statement from the Mystics that they are not a team that should be forgotten when talking about their rivals.

“You can all sleep,” he said Natasha Cloud, who finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds and six assists. “We’re confident in what we have in this locker room. You can keep talking about the top teams, but we know who we are and we know what we bring every night. … We’re an unselfish team. It’s a lot of fun to be around each other. When you talk about making a competitive team, that’s what it is.”

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