Despite losing their last game by 24 points, the New York Liberty clinched the third seed in the playoffs. You can bet New York will come out focused and coach Bill Laimbeer will have his squad ready to play the Connecticut Sun on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
On a night when New York honored one of the WNBA's all-time greats, the Liberty laid a big, fat egg against the Seattle Storm on Wednesday and lost, 102-78.
The Liberty were still licking their wounds after the loss when they honored the career of Swin Cash, who is retiring after this season. Named one of the 20 greatest WNBA players of all-time, Cash is calling it quits after 15 seasons.
She's not the scorer she once was, but Cash has been credited with helping MVP candidate Tina Charles develop. Charles leads the Liberty with 21.2 and 9.9 rebounds per game.
Last week, Charles reached 4,000 career points, which elicited high praise from Laimbeer.
"We talk about inside that she's the best post player in the world, men or women," he told reporters. "She's that consistent and that dominant. There's more to her that we're waiting to see."
Charles has recorded 16 double-doubles, and in seven other games she has fallen one rebound shy of a double-double.
While New York has secured a playoff spot, the Sun still have hope of earning a berth. The Sun are one of four teams -- Seattle and Phoenix are 1 1/2 games ahead and Washington is one game ahead of Connecticut -- jockeying for the final two spots in the playoffs.
The Sun have had five days to rest since seeing their modest two-game win streak snapped in a loss to Maya Moore and the Minnesota Lynx.
Alex Bentley, the Sun's leading scorer at 13.9 points per game, and Chiney Ogwumike (12.1 ppg) had off games and didn't do much damage until late in that contest.
In the first meeting earlier this season, Charles scored 32 to lead the Liberty to an 80-72 win on June 16 in Connecticut.
On July 17, Charles struggled but Cash and Sugar Rodgers picked up the slack in an 83-76 win over the Sun in New York.
After Friday's game, the Sun play host to the Chicago Sky on Sunday.
The Liberty hit the road and travel to Dallas for a Sunday date with the Wings.