NEWARK, NJ – A hot humid night in "Brick City." No rendition of "Friday Night Lights," as football can wait a week or two. Tonight, it is WNBA action, with two teams battling for their collective playoff lives. The Rock is air conditioned, but action is hot and intense considering a "second season" is at stake.
New York gets out to a double-figure lead in the opening quarter. Indiana battles back. The effort over these 40 minutes is a microcosm of the Fever season. The defending WNBA champions have battled through injures the entire summer, but that is the key, the willingness to battle.
Down the stretch, Tamika Catchings hits two big baskets and the Fever hold off the Liberty 73-67. A star in the "W," Catchings has been so valuable to the Fever not just from a stat sheet perspective, but from outstanding leadership.
An especially poor offensive showing, especially in the final quarter, doomed the Liberty. The Fever, now playing a lot better despite still nagging injuries, are anything but an "easy out" these days. Credit the players and coaches for staying together. As head coach Lin Dunn says, “injuries are adversity. In basketball, you get adversity and have to deal with it.”
The Fever have handled any misfortune this season in an exemplary way.
A Liberty dance team member gets set for her windup on a T-shirt toss: (Yankees starting rotation, anyone?)
Liberty mentor Bill Laimbeer has a disagreement with an official:
Plenette Pierson surveys options while guarded by Tamika Catchings:
The hallway under The Rock stands on the way to the locker rooms:
The Liberty's Kelsey Bone meets the media in the New York locker room:
Indiana coach Lin Dunn discusses the reversal of Fever fortunes: