Promise of things to come in N.Y.
Published 4:26 pm Saturday, October 3, 2015
The 2015 season did not come to the conclusion that the New York Liberty was hoping for, but former King’s Fork High School basketball star Sugar Rodgers gave Liberty fans a promising preview of things to come from her.
The Liberty fell one game short of reaching the WNBA Finals, losing the Eastern Conference Finals 2-1 to the Indiana Fever on Tuesday.
New York claimed the first game of the series, defeating the visiting Fever 84-67 on Sept. 23, and Rodgers contributed 14 points in that game.
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The Fever evened the series on Sept. 27 with a 70-64 home win, then Indiana managed to achieve a 66-51 victory at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 29 to eliminate the Liberty.
Rodgers said she would need to watch the game film before she could have a clear idea of what New York needed to do differently to advance, but she had an idea of what it might have been.
“I think the little things finally caught up to us, not boxing out, not playing through contact,” she said.
The Liberty finished the regular season with the best record in the WNBA, 23-11, reaching that win total and achieving home court advantage throughout the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
But going into New York’s Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Washington Mystics, Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer noted that anybody could beat anybody in the playoffs.
Reflecting on the season, Rodgers focused on the achievements rather than the failures.
She said this season was definitely a change from last year when the team did not even get to the playoffs.
This year, “for us to be so young and a new team and everybody getting to know everybody, I think we did an outstanding job,” she said.
As for her personal performance, Rodgers showed flashes of brilliance during the regular season and the postseason, as well.
She contributed 15 points in a Game Two Eastern Conference Semifinals win over the Mystics and scored 20 in the series-clinching Game Three victory.
Rodgers said making such big contributions feels good.
“It just tells me going into next year that’s the type of player that I want to be,” she said. “So, I’m looking forward to the offseason training.”