Sunday, June 7, 2015

Liberty 82, Dream 73: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

New York City­ - Opening night provides excitement and anticipation. This is obvious whether we are talking about a show on Broadway or one on 33rd Street. The New York Liberty saw this evening as an opportunity for a new start. The pre­season was a time to experiment and try different combinations. Forget the winless exhibition record. Tonight, everyone is 0-­0, and showing no shortage of hope and optimism.

The Liberty led by nine after the first ten minutes, going on to post a satisfying 82-­73 victory over the Atlanta Dream at Madison Square Garden. There were a number of contributors behind a strong team effort. Tina Charles provided another solid effort, the type we almost take for granted: ­17 points and a dozen boards. Tanisha Wright added 14 points at the guard spot. Veteran Swin Cash scored 15 points in 24 minutes and gave “a phenomenal effort,” per Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer. Brittany Boyd, a rookie from Cal, provided 14 points, 4 steals and immeasurable energy.

Speaking of measurements, the analytics tell us the Liberty posted a 99 offensive efficiency to that of 86 by Atlanta, an impressive showing by New York, especially on the defensive end. There is no formula or equation to calculate or accurately assess two important intangibles: Intensity and chemistry. Laimbeer praised the Liberty during post game for showing those aforementioned qualities that make a coach’s life a bit easier. ‘If we show those two traits, I can live with the result,” he said.

One game in. A long season is ahead. Judging by the outcome on this evening and the manner it was reached, the Liberty could be a team to keep an eye on this WNBA season.

Outside Madison Square Garden 45 minutes before tipoff, we cannot escape the power of advertising:
All risen for the national anthem:
Tina Charles (left) and the Dream's Angel McCoughtry, who scored a game-high 27 points, battle for rebounding position:
Dream perimeter threat Tiffany Hayes (17 points) gets to receive a pass. Official Tiara Cruse is in the background:
The Liberty's Swin Cash and Nadia Colhado of the Dream jump it up following a held ball:
Bill Laimbeer meets the media after a nice win to start the season:
In a clinic, Hubie Brown once said in high school, players look up to their coach with admiration. In college, it is with respect. Here, Brittany Boyd of the Liberty poses with her Cal coach, Lindsay Gottlieb, exemplifying both the respect and admiration Brown alluded to:

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