The message was a simple one: Remain focused. The Liberty have the best record (now 23-10) in the WNBA. The top seed and home court advantage is secured for the duration of their playoff run. On this evening, coach Bill Laimbeer chose to play the starters sparingly while giving the reserves appreciable minutes as he looked at different combinations. What upset Laimbeer the most was not just allowing Washington to hit 12-of-19 (63%) from three-point range while giving up a 111 efficiency on the defensive end. Basically, it came down to a lack of effort and focus, something bothering Laimbeer more than the sheer numbers.
The other point to be taken is that of home court. The Liberty were handled in the confines of Madison Square Garden. Home court, especially in basketball, is something desired as momentum, familiarity of the venue, and crowd support enter the mix. The old coaching axiom, ‘players, not arenas, win games’ spoke loud and clear through the confines of the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena.’ A poor showing, due to that deficiency of focus, will not be compensated by playing in front of the home folks.
The Liberty know this. With the playoffs beginning this week, it is certain the message they received at the hands of the Mystics will be remembered. A lopsided loss, one they look to avenge when their first playoff game is contested next Friday on the Garden floor.
Finally, the coffee oasis is found in the Liberty's fan hospitality room:
The Washington Mystics take the floor for the second half:
Sugar Rodgers of the Liberty defending Washington's Tayler Hill:
A meeting of Atlantic 10 alumni, as Dayton graduate Ally Malott passes to Natasha Cloud of Saint Joseph's:
The officiating crew of (L-R) Eric Brewton, Jeff Smith and Tiffany Bird exits after a job well done:
Despite the lopsided setback, Bill Laimbeer can smile with the Liberty having the best record in the league: