After falling to the Minnesota Lynx, 90-71, on Thursday night and losing starting point guard Brittany Boyd in the process, the squad confirmed the initial fear that swept Madison Square Garden, announcing Friday that the former California Golden Bear would miss the remainder of the season with a torn left Achilles tendon.
“She had an excellent training camp, and was poised for a breakout season, as evidenced by the way she performed in our first two games,” said Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer via press release. “We are all hoping for a speedy recovery.”
Boyd only logged four minutes in the first quarter before sitting until the beginning of the third after committing two early fouls. Boyd was on the verge of bringing the Liberty back into a game they trailed by as much as 20, scoring 16 second half points before the unfortunate injury, which now opens the door for former University of Connecticut standout Bria Hartley, who arrived to the Liberty from the Washington Mystics this past off-season.
After only leading 43-40 after two stanzas, the Lynx held the Liberty, who dropped to 1-1, to 31 points in the second half, and only 35.3 percent shooting on the evening. Maya Moore says that fast-break buckets were a big reason for the Liberty’s early success, which is something Minnesota tried to address.
“We tried to force them to have to make plays in the half court because they’re really good in transition,” she told this paper. “We tried to secure the rebounds and not let them get second shots because they’re a great offensive rebounding team as well.”
As for Moore, a 12-point, seven-rebound second half came right on time for the three-time WNBA champions.
“In the first half there were some shots I took that didn’t go in, but I was still able to contribute offensively with assists or doing different things,” said Moore of her game-best six dimes. “I don’t always measure my success with me being the person scoring the basketball.”
Last week, coach Laimbeer was upset after the Liberty’s victory over the San Antonio Stars to open the season.
So one would figure that after a tough loss, we’d see coach Laimbeer tap into his displeasure once again, and to some degree he did, but this time it wasn’t as overt.
“They’re going to make some shots, they’re going to score, but we made some substitutions and went backwards in the intensity factor, which hurt,” he said candidly after the loss.
And once again, the name of the game was execution.
“We didn’t execute appropriately,” Laimbeer said. “We didn’t run our plays the way we’d been working on all week in practice. And against a good team, you have to execute every time or you’re going to get beat.”
In defeat, the Liberty were led by Sugar Rodgers, who poured on 20 points, 19 of which came in the first half on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 from three.
Queens native and Christ the King alum Tina Charles finished with six points, seven rebounds and three assists while playing under the weather, as coach Laimbeer pointed out.
Charles spoke on the impact of Boyd.
“I think the first thing that came to my mind is just energy,” Charles said. “Just a hard worker in everything that she does.”
The Libs were set to return to action on Tuesday, May 23, to face the Phoenix Mercury in their first road contest, followed by a May 26th showdown in Seattle against the Storm.