Liberty-Sun Preview

The Associated Press

The New York Liberty's playoff hopes have taken a hit with one of their longest losing streaks of the season.

A matchup with the last-place Connecticut Sun would appear to give the Liberty a prime chance to end the skid, but they haven't fared too well in this series of late, especially on the road.

New York will try to snap a lengthy slide in Connecticut and avoid a season-high fourth consecutive defeat Sunday.

The Liberty (10-16) have struggled to keep pace in the race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a string of uninspired efforts. New York has lost its past three games by a combined 58 points, the latest an 82-64 defeat at Chicago on Friday.

"We've got a big stretch of games coming up right here, there's a lot of games that we can win, and we have to win them," coach Bill Laimbeer said. "If we don't, we're going to be in trouble."

Plenette Pierson was the only Liberty player to score in double figures Friday with a season-high 25. Leading scorer Cappie Pondexter finished with a season-low three points and shot 1 of 8 in her return from a bruised left heel.

"It's tough, especially the way I play," Pondexter said. "But, you know, it happens I guess. You deal with these kind of things. It's just a matter of getting back healthy."

New York will try to earn just its third win in the last 12 matchups with Connecticut, including two games in last year's playoffs. The Liberty got one of those victories June 14 but were blown out 88-66 in the most recent meeting Aug. 3.

New York has dropped seven straight in Connecticut, falling 81-69 in its first visit of the season May 25.

The Sun (7-18), however, have lost six of seven since beating the Liberty this month and have dropped their last three games by a combined 56 points. Connecticut has given up 86 or more points in four straight contests after a 91-77 loss to Minnesota on Thursday.

"Defensively, we never seemed to bother them," coach Anne Donovan said. "It didn't matter what lineup we had in there. They shot high 50s, 60s (percent) all night long."

Tina Charles had 22 points and 12 rebounds after totaling 20 points and nine boards in her prior two games. She's recorded double-doubles in two of the three matchups with New York but was held to seven points and 3 of 17 from the field in a 78-68 home loss June 14.

Pondexter is averaging 20.0 points in the season series despite shooting 37.5 percent.

The Liberty haven't lost four in a row since a team-worst 0-5 start last season.

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