The mercury soared past 90 degrees, hinting of a July or August date on the calendar. Despite the climatic aberration, it is May and still early in the WNBA season. On Thursday night, the New York Liberty entertained the Minnesota Lynx at Madison Square Garden.
Both teams were coming off opening game victories. For the Liberty, this was an especially significant test. Coach Bill Laimbeer and his team are looking to this year as the one in which they finally ascend to the top. However, it is more difficult and complex than making transactions and adjustments. The move from very good to elite is a huge step.
Minnesota defeated the Liberty, 90-71. The game was close for a half. The visiting Lynx basically owned the final 20 minutes. This provided a learning experience for the Liberty. Beyond Xs and Os and hitting shots, there is the intangible of intensity. No one chooses to take a play or possession off. It can happen. On championship teams such as the Lynx, that is the difference. Having Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen definitely helps. Having the mindset of not taking a break on a possession is the difference. Laimbeer knows that. On Thursday, the Liberty were reminded as well.
Summer in the city, or an early preview at least, with 90-degree gameday temperatures:
Sugar Rodgers with a fluid free throw release:
Maya Moore on the offensive attack:
From long distance in the photo, Brittany Boyd on a free throw:
Breaking ranks in the Liberty huddle:
Maya Moore addresses the media in the Minnesota locker room:
Bidding farewell from the empty Madison Square Garden concourse: