Silver Stars-Liberty Preview
By NOEY KUPCHAN
(AP) -- The surging San Antonio Silver Stars are playing their best basketball of the season. If their recent efforts against the New York Liberty are any indication, however, keeping things going could prove difficult.
Looking to extend its longest winning streak in four seasons, San Antonio tries to avoid a sixth consecutive loss to New York as the teams meet at the Prudential Center on Sunday afternoon.
Since a 2-4 start, the Silver Stars (10-5) have proven nearly unbeatable. San Antonio has won six in a row by an average of 10.8 points and eight of nine overall.
The Silver Stars continued their recent prowess Friday with a 78-73 win at Washington. Sophia Young had 18 points while ex-Liberty guard Becky Hammon added 17 for San Antonio, which shot 52.6 percent from the floor.
"Right now we're just playing really well together," said Hammon, who leads the league with 5.7 assists per game. "We're moving the ball. We had 20 assists on 30 field goals. That's really moving the ball."
San Antonio, which hasn't posted seven consecutive victories since June 28-July 11, 2008, now looks for its momentum to carry over versus New York (6-9).
The Liberty have had their way with the Silver Stars of late, pulling out five straight wins - the last four of which have come by six or fewer points.
New York has posted back-to-back victories after dropping four of five, beating Seattle 77-59 on June 30 and winning 64-59 at Chicago six days later. Four-time All-Star Cappie Pondexter scored a team-high 19 points for the Liberty, who managed to prevail despite shooting 38.6 percent and getting outrebounded 45-30.
"We just told them to win it on defense and rebounding," said coach John Whisenant, whose team has been outrebounded by an Eastern Conference-worst 5.4 boards per game. "We had trouble scoring and I knew it would be that way. We missed some baskets that were easy, but so did they. They missed some putbacks. I'll take the way it was."
New York could be without leading rebounder Kia Vaughn for a second consecutive game. The 6-foot-4 center, averaging a team-high 5.8 boards, is dealing with a concussion she suffered versus the Storm.
The shorthanded Liberty will also have to overcome second-leading scorer Plenette Pierson's absence again. Averaging 11.2 points, Pierson isn't expected back until after the Olympic break due to a strained left knee.
The Liberty are 3-9 when allowing at least 70 points. The Silver Stars, averaging 82.1 points on the season, have scored 87.7 per game during their six-game run.
Updated July 7, 2012