Friday, June 6, 2014

Silver Stars 87, Liberty 75: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

NEW YORK CITY -­ If you care about the New York Rangers or hockey in general, and your pulse did not quicken, there would be a health concern. Getting off the train and onto Seventh Avenue in New York were numerous signs and murals in support of the Rangers and in celebration of the Stanley Cup Final.

Tonight was reserved for WNBA action at the ’World’s Most Famous Arena,’ as San Antonio visited the New York Liberty. As the game unfolded, there was a vivid reminder of the level of play in the W. The league has improved through the years and there are no easy outs. San Antonio entered sub .500 with a two-game losing streak. The Stars went on a third quarter tear, extending a halftime lead of one to over 20. Ten minutes of turnovers exceeding effort doomed the Liberty. San Antonio posted an 87-­75 victory that was closer than the score indicated. Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer could cite the aforementioned issues and other breakdowns contributing to the loss. Ultimately he summed it up saying, “the league has excellent players and coaches. You have to be ready at all times.”

A highlight of the evening was meeting tennis great Billie Jean King, who was seated near our press row seating. Normally, I do not seek autographs, but obtained one for my wife Karen, an avid tennis fan. King was very gracious, wrote a nice message to Karen and we discussed tennis (she commended Karen’s choice of Serena Williams as a favorite among today’s players) and basketball a few minutes. Finally, King said to yours truly a “thank you for covering and supporting women’s basketball, especially the WNBA.” A special moment on a night not in the Liberty's favor, but proving just how competitive the league is becoming these days.

In the hallway outside the Garden, one of the many murals commemorating the New York Rangers, fan optimism was evident despite the overtime loss a night ago:
Across from MSG, a reminder that another San Antonio team had an important matchup:
The Back To Basics youth team from the Bronx gets a memorable Garden moment:
Delisha Milton-Jones of the Liberty boxes out San Antonio's Jayne Appel:
Notre Dame product Kayla McBride is all concentration on the line for San Antonio:
Tennis legend Billie Jean King (far left) chats during halftime:
Postgame, Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer appears to be in search of some much-needed answers:

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