Bill Laimbeer vowed he wasn't going to sit back and allow the Liberty to get lulled into playing a slow pace.
So the Liberty coach made sure they knew exactly what he wanted Tuesday night, continuously harping on it in their 86-79 win over the Indiana Fever at the Garden.
"They had to be reminded of our style of play this year," Laimbeer said. "And I told them it was my fault, too. I didn't force the action [in Saturday's 67-62 loss] in Washington. I let it happen right in front of me. And I told them that's not going to happen again."
The Liberty played the up-tempo game Laimbeer was looking for, also riding the hot hand of Tina Charles. She led the Liberty in scoring for a third straight game with 21 points. Essence Carson had 14 points, knocking down all three shots beyond the arc, and Tanisha Wright had 12 points and five assists.
Layshia Clarendon led the Fever (0-3) with 14 points.
Tamika Catchings (13 points) made her season debut after missing the first two games with a knee injury. Natalie Achonwa, Lynetta Kizer and Shenise Johnson also had 13 points apiece.
"We weren't tired. We weren't coming off a back-to-back," Charles said. "We really wanted this win. We knew in the second half this win was going to be determined by who wanted it more and we did. We were not looking ahead, trying to make like a five-point shot or thinking how could we score, but really letting our defense dictate our offense.
The Liberty rocked the Fever with a 20-4 run at the outset of the third quarter, opening up a game that featured four lead changes in the first half. Last thing they wanted to do was give a team still searching for its first win of the season any hope and that third quarter was the real difference.
Setting the tone immediately after halftime and outscoring the Fever 24-13 in the third was just what veteran forward Swin Cash was hoping to see from her team.
"Slow start, but I thought in the second half we really picked it up, really locked in mentally," Cash said. "A lot of times, it's not so much the physical. We have youth here, we have the legs to get out and run. But sometimes it comes down to the execution. Executing on offense and executing your defensive assignments. We still have a lot of growth that we need to have in those areas."