Thursday, July 7, 2016

Liberty 78, Storm 74: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay


New York City- The pro life is never easy.

Travel and life on the road can be a grind, and at times, a test of fortitude. The WNBA does not have the schedule, numbers-wise, of their male counterparts. Doesn’t matter. There is travel, practices, and similar logistics to face in their regular season slate.
    
During the course of that season, teams battle more than opposing teams, their sets and tendencies. Simply, teams face their own level of fatigue and limitations.
   
Wednesday evening saw the New York Liberty in that very situation. Coming off a three-game (winning two of three) road swing, the Liberty struggled to put away the Seattle Storm in a contest at Madison Square Garden. In the final analysis, Bill Laimbeer’s club made the plays in the waning seconds to edge the Storm, 78-74.
   
Afterward, Laimbeer noted his team and coaching staff were all tired, but “you have to fight through it.”
    
This is not to diminish the outstanding 24-point, 16-rebound effort by Seattle’s outstanding  rookie, Breanna Stewart; nor is it to detract from the team effort of the Storm, who refused the Liberty separation. Those were major factors. In the end, it was a case of the Liberty putting aches, fatigue and a tough opponent aside to claim the victory.
With three minutes to go, the Liberty led Seattle by five points. I wrote a note at that juncture: “These are the games at home championship teams/contenders find a way to win.”

It took some anxious moments up until the final ticks of the clock, but the Liberty did just that: They found a way to win. Laimbeer will be first to admit, “it wasn’t pretty.” No matter. It’s in the “W” column. No one gives credit for style points.

The Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City" is a perfect backdrop for a 97-degree day in Manhattan:
They've got the whole world in their hands? Not really, but there is a globe in the Liberty dance team's storage area:
Several Storm players take the floor early during halftime for some extra shooting practice:
Sugar Rodgers lets one fly:
Seattle's super rookie, Breanna Stewart, from long distance:
Kiah Stokes gets set on defense before Seattle inbounds:
The scoreboard's lasting impression on this night, a Liberty victory:
Although it is the heart of both the WNBA and Major League Baseball seasons, the reminder is there as the cleaning crew works in the New York Rangers' locker room: Hockey is not too far away:

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