Sunday, June 8, 2014

Liberty 81, Mystics 64: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

NEW YORK CITY -­ Energy. We hear this word used, maybe overused by players and coaches. It is obvious you have to ‘come out with energy.’ Not just come out with it, but maintain it for the duration. Still, there was no better way to describe the New York Liberty’s start in a much needed 81-­64 win over the Washington Mystics on Sunday.

Coaches like to cite the first four minutes or five possessions as a good starting point. ‘Win’ those first four or five and you are off to a good start. ‘Winning’ that early part of the game does not guarantee victory. The Liberty led 8­-7 after five possessions against San Antonio last Thursday and went down in defeat. Today would prove significantly different. 

The first five possessions:

New York:

1.  FGM (Cappie Pondexter jumper)

2.  FGM (Tina Charles post up)

3.  Turnover

4.  FGM (Pondexter jump shot)

5.  2 free throws (Essence Carson)

Washington saw a missed field goal attempt end each of their initial five possessions. The score was 8-­0, with the Liberty showing an outrageous offensive efficiency of 160. The Liberty would score the game’s first ten points and never look back.

New York, led by Cappie Pondexter’s 21 points, placed five in double figures. The defense did its share, holding the Mystics to 33% shooting and an 89 efficiency. In the process, a three-game losing streak ended and a Mystics team that came in winners of three of its last four, was soundly dispatched.

The Liberty were not the same club as three days ago. If we must say it, on this afternoon they were ‘energized.’

Outside the Garden on a warm Sunday, we are reminded of another event of paramount importance:
Longtime veteran scorer Danny Fishbane preparing about 40 minutes before tipoff:
A women's basketball icon, former Immaculata College star and longtime coach, Mystics assistant Marianne Stanley in a familiar teaching mode during pregame warmups:
The Liberty's Alex Montgomery gets caught between a Stefanie Dolson-Jelena Milovanovic screen:
The Mystics huddle and regroup postgame:
The officiating crew of (L-R) Lamont Simpson, Donald Hudson and Roy Gulbeyan exits after a job well done:
A more relaxed and content Bill Laimbeer during the postgame presser:

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