Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Liberty 80, Mystics 76: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

NEW YORK CITY- ­ Heading from Penn Station to Eighth Avenue for my first Liberty game since the All-Star break, a man with a sign was spotted. The sandwich board-style announcement read ’help, I need money for weed.’ Amid the rush hour commuter traffic, he went virtually unnoticed.

‘Announcements’ and so forth aside, the main attraction on this night was a WNBA meeting between the Liberty and Washington Mystics, the latter winners of four straight. Adhering to the wishes of coach Bill Laimbeer, the Liberty got off to a good start. When the Mystics’ Ivory Latta stole the ball and went in for a potentially momentum-changing layup with 2.8 seconds left in the half, the Liberty responded. Alex Montgomery buried a 48-footer as the half ended, extending the lead to fifteen points.

The final half tested the resolve and character of the home team. Washington gradually fought back, took advantage of some Liberty complacency plus errors on the defensive end, tying the game on a Bria Hartley layup with 2 seconds to go.

The Mystics drew first blood in overtime and appeared to be in the driver’s seat. The Liberty, sensing the urgency, maintained poise, and possession by possession, took charge of their own destiny. They got the stops and made the essential plays in the stretch of the added session, sealing an 80-­76 overtime victory. For New York, it was win number four in their last five outings, and it came against an Eastern Conference opponent. Of paramount significance, the win showed the Liberty’s ability to overcome adversity and respond. Indeed, signs of a quality club.

A New York City fixture, a Sabrett's hot dog stand outside Madison Square Garden:
The Liberty's Anna Cruz and Ivory Latta of Washington take a free throw respite:
A picture may say a thousand words, and this conveys a similar number of emotions, as former Liberty great Sue Wicks honors several breast cancer survivors as part of Breast Health Awareness Night:
The Mystics regroup immediately after a tough loss:
A popular visitor to Liberty games, New York Knick Iman Shumpert honors a "selfie" request:
Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer assessing a vital win after the game:
Sugar Rodgers came up with a few clutch plays, and discusses them in the Liberty locker room:

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