The lottery bills that as its classic slogan. It is no use daydreaming about potential riches if you do not ante up the dollar (or a few more) for the chance. The same goes for championships. If you want to win one, get in the playoffs for starters.
The New York Liberty took that step, clinching a WNBA postseason berth for the first time since 2012. The Liberty defeated the Minnesota Lynx 81-68 at Madison Square Garden. The game was billed as the leaders of the Western Conference versus the East’s top team, the homestanding Liberty.
Once again, it was vintage Tina Charles (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Epiphanny Prince, with a team-high 22 points, showing the way. Maya Moore of the Lynx led all scorers with 25 points. Moore was held scoreless the first quarter when the Liberty built a double-digit lead they would not relinquish, as the defense (Minnesota managed just a 90 efficiency) and supporting cast featuring Kiah Stokes (11 rebounds) and Tanisha Wright (6 assists) came through.
Almost forgotten is the man on the bench, Bill Laimbeer. Not totally overlooked for his body of work, but it is rarely mentioned how the administration let him go following last season. After a search, the Liberty decided he ultimately was best suited for the job. Credit the powers that be for getting that right. He has not only constructed a talented team, but one with chemistry that is the envy of many a team, not just WNBA clubs. In addition, the team has taken on his personality of toughness and bought completely into his mindset of solid defense as job one.
Laimbeer insists there is a lot of basketball to be played. Considering what could happen in the playoffs, he could be right, and deserves a world of credit.
The Lovin' Spoonful sang of "Summer in the City," a time when we and our amenities (at Penn Station especially) are not always at full strength:
Carolyn Swords of the Liberty limbers up pregame:
A classy Madison Square Garden tribute to recently departed fan favorite Darryl "Chocolate Thunder" Dawkins:
Tanisha Wright is all concentration on the line:
All a blur, as Essence Carson of the Liberty gives chase to a Lynx guard headed to the basket:
Epiphanny Prince of the Liberty discusses victory No. 19:
Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer in his postgame meeting with the media: