8:00 PM ET, July 8, 2011
After a fantastic first month, the San Antonio Silver Stars opened July with a tough loss at Madison Square Garden.They didn't have to wait too long to get another crack at beating the New York Liberty.With a week's break separating this home-and-home set, the Silver Stars look to get back on track Friday night at the AT&T Center and avoid falling to the Liberty for a fifth straight time.San Antonio (7-2) won seven of its eight games in June to grab first place in the Western Conference, and had a chance to notch its second four-game winning streak of the season last Friday at MSG.A poor shooting performance ensured that wouldn't happen. The Silver Stars shot a season-low 34.2 percent and missed 23 of 30 attempts from beyond the arc in an 81-75 loss."We didn't play particularly well," said San Antonio guard Becky Hammon, who had 16 points against her former team. "We didn't execute our defensive game plan the way we wanted to and we didn't shoot the ball well. It's hard to win when you shoot 35 percent."The Silver Stars haven't played particularly well against the Liberty for a while. Last week's defeat was their fourth consecutive in the series. They've shot 40.6 percent and averaged 69.8 points in those losses.Getting Essence Carson back could help New York (5-5) continue its dominance of San Antonio. Carson, who had averaged 15.9 points in her previous seven games, missed last week's win with traumatic iritis to her right eye but is expected to play Friday.While Cappie Pondexter led the way with 19 points last week for the Liberty, it was Plenette Pierson who made the difference down the stretch. Pierson scored 10 of her 14 points in the final 4:08.She's averaged 16.0 points and shot 58.9 percent in New York's wins, as opposed to 10.2 points while shooting 46.7 percent in her team's losses."I'm a veteran in this league. I've been there, done that many times before," Pierson said. "It's not how you play the entire game, it's how you finish."Silver Stars forward Danielle Adams has been playing like a seasoned veteran, leading all rookies at 16.2 points per game. She had a team-high 19 against the Liberty despite missing seven of nine 3-point attempts.Adams is shooting 37.8 percent from beyond the arc overall, though, and has an impressive inside-outside game -- she's also second on the team with 4.7 rebounds per game.Liberty rookie Sydney Colson, her teammate at Texas A&M, knows Adams' game well."She can shoot outside, she can take you inside," Colson said. "She has quick feet for her size and she really lulls people to sleep and you're not expecting her to do what she can do."