The result saw the home five post an 80-75 victory in overtime. In the process the Liberty battled back from a ten-point third quarter deficit and were given everything they could handle. It was just what they expected.
Atlanta represented a team fighting for their collective playoff lives. A loss here meant the Dream would have to win every remaining game to have a chance, a desperate situation indeed. The Dream also had their fair share of talent, led by one of the league’s best and most dangerous scorers in Angel McCoughtry.
A game-high 25-point scorer, McCoughtry kept her team in the mix. In the end, Atlanta was done in by the supporting cast of the Liberty. Sugar Rodgers scored a team-high 23 points. Many of her long range field goal came at opportune junctures. Kiah Stokes scored 10 points, yet her contribution far exceeded that number. She led all Liberty rebounders with seven, while getting four steals and rejecting four shots in 35 minutes of solid hustle. Tina Charles, the Liberty’s top option, struggled shooting 6-of-16, yet managed 17 points.
Numbers aside, this was about resiliency. The Liberty fell behind by 10 in the third quarter. They did not panic nor waver from the game plan and gradually came back. Win number 21 on the season was achieved not just with five extra minutes. Add to that a immeasurable (by analytics) share of extra effort. In the end, the Liberty knew all along it would be that way.
Next up at Madison Square Garden, a visit from the Sovereign Pontiff:
Tina Charles, defended physically by a Liberty assistant, works on her post moves prior to the contest:
Mark Fratto, the former director of athletic communications at St. John's, makes a few notes before assuming public address announcing duties:
A meeting of scoring leaders, as Sugar Rodgers attempts to inbound while Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry defends:
The Liberty's Essence Carson debates a call with official Denise Brooks:
Tanisha Wright of the Liberty looks for a receiver. At the bottom of the picture, Sugar Rodgers attempts to get free:
The postgame presser with coach Bill Laimbeer. The Liberty are 9-0 in games covered by Ray, and the suggestion of getting in on the traveling party brought a laugh from Laimbeer and media relations director Vincent Novicki: