By Amy Tennery
NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York Liberty are a long way from living up to the superteam hype after they squandered a 19-point lead in an 86-82 loss to Chicago Sky on Sunday, coach Sandy Brondello said.
The club made headlines with an off-season acquisition spree that included Breanna Stewart, who scored highest average points per game in the league in 2022, and 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones, prompting huge fanfare around their bid for a maiden WNBA title.
But after their second defeat of the season, Brondello said: “There’s nothing great about our team right now. You guys say that it’s the ‘great team, the superteam’.
“It’s like, ‘We ain’t so super’. We know that. We didn’t label ourself that – we knew it would take time. But things we can control – that’s what I get most disappointed with.”
New York earned a slim victory on the road on Friday against Chicago and Sunday’s homecoming presented the tantalizing chance to secure their first five-game win streak in six years.
Instead they let a big halftime advantage gradually slip away as their crisp passing game evaporated and they failed to utilize their most lethal asset, Stewart, to her full potential.
Chicago extinguished Liberty’s post-season hopes in the first round last year and showed no mercy again as guard Kahleah Copper ran roughshod over the New York defense, with 27 points, and Courtney Williams put 10 on the board in the fourth quarter.
“Hopefully this is a wake up. You know, some players need to wake up a little bit more. We went away from what worked for us,” said Brondello.
“We just didn’t play tough enough and (it was) disappointing but the film won’t lie, you know, we’ve got to use it as a learning opportunity now.”
They have a shot at redemption on Wednesday at home to Minnesota Lynx.
“It’s great we have another game coming up. I think that’s the best thing you can do,” said Brondello.
“I don’t put blame on anyone, it’s on us – including myself. We all have to be better. We all have to buy into the way we want to play. We all have to do it together. I just thought we ran away from being a team at both ends of the floor.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris)
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