The New York Liberty have earned their stripes as the beasts of the East, but they have yet to find a way to consistently conquer the best in the West.
Although they posted a 6-1 record against Eastern Conference opponents, they have not had as much success against nonconference teams, going 6-5.
Going 6-1 in Eastern Conference matchups has lifted the 12-6 Liberty to a three-game lead over the Washington Mystics. Their only loss came in overtime against the third-place Atlanta Dream at Madison Square Garden on May 24. and they later avenged it in double OT on June 22 in Atlanta.
If the Liberty continue to pave their way to the WNBA Finals, they still have to overcome the top Western Conference team. The top two teams in the conference — the Los Angeles Sparks (16-1) and Minnesota Lynx (14-3) — combined to defeat the Liberty four out of five times this season.
Despite a promising victory over the Lynx on June 29 without star forward Tina Charles, their third loss in as many tries against the Sparks, 77-67 on Sunday in Los Angeles, showed they still have to improve against the West’s elite. With a three-point, third-quarter lead, the Liberty allowed a 18-4 run and never recovered.
While the Liberty have made small strides against the league powers, they clearly have room to improve.
The Liberty return to action against another Western Conference foe, the struggling Seattle Storm (6-10), Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.