WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Katie Smith has tried everything from drills to punishment runs in order to try to cure the Liberty’s turnover problem that has been at the forefront of their slide to the edge of irrelevance for another season. So are there any other possible incentives?
“Maybe candy,” the Liberty coach said before Tuesday night’s game against Minnesota at Westchester County Center. “The [players association] would probably be ticked off if we start fining them.”
The Liberty then went out and showed again that Smith hadn’t found the cure. They fell, 89-73, their sixth straight loss and ninth in 10 games.
Rebecca Allen shot a sizzling 11-for-15, including 6-for-7 on threes. The fifth-year Australian forward-guard scored 20 in the second quarter and finished with a career-high 28. But that wasn’t enough to make up for other issues, especially 19 turnovers leading to 22 points.
“That’s our problem collectively,” Allen said. “It’s not like it’s one or two people. It’s everyone.”
So the Liberty are 8-16 and 3 1/2 out of the final playoff spot with 10 to play. They played without the injured Amanda Zahui B. and Asia Durr for the second straight game and only got seven points from Tina Charles. Odyssey Sims paced the Lynx (13-12) with 17.
Minnesota led, 42-40, at the break, then came out on an 8-2 run to go up by eight. Three turnovers, including two by Tanisha Wright, led to six points.
“The third quarter is just a nemesis for us,” Smith said.
The lead was up to 68-55 a minute into the fourth. Allen countered with back-to-back threes.
But Lexi Brown made a free throw and Brittany Boyd followed with one of her team-high five turnovers. Brown turned that into a layup and a 71-61 advantage. The Lynx went on to lead by 19.
“Defensive breakdowns; turnovers; didn’t hit shots,” Smith said of the second half.
In the second quarter, it was 34-18 Minnesota. Then Allen poured in 17 to power a 22-6 burst that tied it at 40. She had set her previous high of 21 last Wednesday at Chicago.
“I think it’s just growth from the time she got into the league to where she is now,” Charles said, “capitalizing on the opportunities that she has to be on the floor.”