Liberty lacks gas, doesn't compete in loss to Sky and Elena Delle Donne

Liberty guard Cappie Pondexter reacts after being called Liberty guard Cappie Pondexter reacts after being called for an offensive foul during the second quarter against the Chicago Sky. (July 7, 2013) Photo Credit: Jason Decrow

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NEWARK -- Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer has done a lot to try to shake his team out of its recent poor play, including tinkering with the starting lineup.

Leilani Mitchell and second-year center Avery Warley, signed as a free agent June 17, have started the last five games. But those changes have had little effect on the Liberty, which had no answers for the Chicago Sky on Sunday in a 93-64 loss at Prudential Center.

It was the third straight loss and fifth in six games for the Liberty (5-7). It also was the team's largest margin of defeat at Prudential Center.

"The players are disappointed [and] I'm disappointed for not showing up," Laimbeer said. "We didn't show up to win the game, we showed up to play the game."

Chicago (8-4) put its stamp on the game early in the second half when rookie sensation Elena Delle Donne (20 points) converted a four-point play, igniting a 34-13 run spanning the third and fourth quarters that gave the Sky a 76-46 lead with 8:26 remaining.

With the Liberty coming off a four-game, nine-day road trip that ended July 4 in Los Angeles, Laimbeer expected some fatigue, but he didn't anticipate his squad falling apart in the third quarter.

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"We had no legs, we had no enthusiasm and we had no drive," he said of the quarter.

Cappie Pondexter had 18 points and five rebounds. Rookie forward Toni Young, who scored 10 points, was the only other Liberty player in double figures.

Epiphanny Prince, a graduate of Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan, contributed 18 points for the Sky.

"Coming off a [long] road trip, it's kind of hard," said the Liberty's Plenette Pierson, who had eight points and five rebounds. "It just seemed like for them everything was clicking, but not so much for us."

Whatever the Liberty needs to fix must happen fast, with home games against the Seattle Storm Tuesday night and the Indiana Fever on Saturday.

"The thing about playing professional sports is the games come so fast," Pondexter said. "Whether it's a loss or a win, you have to let it go."

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