NEW YORK CITY - The saying is a bit trite: "What a difference a day makes."
Apparently, not a great deal.
Once again, we were afforded another graphic lesson in playoff basketball. The New York Liberty never trailed en route to an 84-67 victory over the Indiana Fever. The contest at Madison Square Garden gave New York a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three Eastern Conference finals.
The night before, Tina Charles of the Liberty said there would be no fatigue due to the adrenaline. Tamika Catchings of the Fever was not surprised, citing it to the urgency and nature of playoff basketball.
Charles went for 18 points, seven rebounds, nine assists and zero turnovers, not to mention logging 36 minutes 24 hours removed from a 39-minute outing. Her outstanding evening set the tone for a Liberty performance that even surprised Bill Laimbeer. In the final analysis, it was a home win, and a more down-to-earth Laimbeer commented, “that’s what we’re supposed to do, protect home court.”
Now game two moves to the Hoosier State on Sunday. Indiana is at home, and as pointed out, players, not locations, win games. All things considered, in a ‘do or die’ situation, playing in front of the home crowd is decidedly more desirable than hitting the road. And this is a locale where the Liberty have come up short on every occasion this season.
It has been frequently discussed that the Fever won the season series over the Liberty. Not an individual in either locker room weighs in on that being a relevant factor. After all, there is a reason they refer to this as a ‘second season.’
Next stop, the "World's Most Famous Arena."
Kiah Stokes appears to be in quiet reflection during warmups. During the game, she exploded for a career-high 21 points:
An outstanding star for years, Tamika Catchings of Indiana looks for room on the perimeter:
Indiana's Layshia Clarendon running the offense:
The Garden scoreboard proclaims the Liberty victory:
The Liberty huddle at center court following the victory:
Fever coach Stephanie White meets the media postgame: