Sunday, August 23, 2015

Liberty 78, Dream 67: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

NEW YORK CITY – Legendary coach Al McGuire often spoke of the importance regarding the ‘marquee’ player. That individual in McGuire’s Marquette program would have their picture on the cover of the media guide, and naturally get the call when a play had to be executed.

On the New York Liberty, it is safely assumed the player fitting that description is Tina Charles, though coach Bill Laimbeer and Charles herself would point out Epiphanny Prince could also be termed as such given her backcourt play. Your ‘marquee’ player is essential. The supporting cast is just as vital to a team’s success.

On Friday, the Liberty defeated the Atlanta Dream 78-­67 at Madison Square Garden. The Liberty overcame a nine-point second-half deficit. Much of the credit goes to Charles, a game-high 25-point scorer who added seven rebounds. Prince scored 18 points, burying a few crucial threes when the home group erased the Dream lead and took over.

As essential as the aforementioned pair’s performances were, you could not lose sight of those getting the call to respond. Brittany Boyd came off the bench, energizing the attack when the Liberty made their third quarter run. Tanisha Wright and Candice Wiggins combined for two points on 0-for-7 shooting, but their contributions were immeasurable, as they combined to defensively harass Dream star Angel McCoughtry into a quiet 13-point evening.

The Liberty improved to a conference leading 18­-7 as the Dream fell to 9-­16. On this night, the victory was possible with the featured performer(s) rising to the occasion. It would not be possible without those, in those all important and unheralded ‘secondary’ roles, rising to the challenge. The Liberty continue their special season, embracing the true attributes of a team, a complete; and very good one, at that.

Angel McCoughtry of the Dream, a picture of concentration on the line:
The Liberty defense never rests, with Epiphanny Prince and Tanisha Wright defending Tiffany Hayes of Atlanta:
Former Liberty coach Pat Coyle, now at Saint Peter's, on a scouting mission for the Connecticut Sun:
Brittany Boyd of the Liberty on the run in a high-energy approach:
Epiphanny Prince composes herself at the line prior to a free throw attempt:
A view of Madison Square Garden during Friday's contest:
With the win in the books, the MSG court prepares to be "torn down":

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