Monday, June 12, 2017

Liberty 94, Storm 86: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

NEW YORK -- The age-old adage tells us to watch only the last two minutes of a pro basketball game.

Two minutes to see it all.   

That is not always a 100 percent given, and on Sunday, one could have used the New York Liberty game as evidence. The game is settled over the duration, even if the deciding plays are made, or not made, in those final minutes.
The Liberty defeated the Seattle Storm, 94-86, at Madison Square Garden Sunday afternoon. With two minutes remaining, the Liberty were clinging to a one-point lead. The defense took the cue, forcing Seattle to turn the ball over on several consecutive possessions. Those turnovers translated into a 120-second spurt that gave New York a fourth straight victory.
Those last few minutes were far from the whole story. Seattle fell behind early and battled back. Veteran Sue Bird and second-year standout Breanna Stewart were a joy to watch, even if you rooted for the Liberty, as they excelled for the resilient Storm. They literally raised their team’s competitive level. For the New York side, it was Tina Charles inside and Sugar Rodgers on the perimeter consistently coming up big. Complimentary players stepped up and in as needed.

If one missed the first three or so quarters, they were that much poorer. They missed a lot. A game of nine ties and eleven lead changes is worthy of much more than a quarter, or less, of close study.
As they exited the Garden respective coaches Jenny Boucek of Seattle and the Liberty”s Bill Laimbeer both had the look. The game did come down to those final minutes. The coaching adversaries had that look of being through a 40-minute test where both mentors gave a complete effort.

Madison Square Garden on a Sunday afternoon:
Liberty assistant coach Katie Smith, overseeing pregame workouts:
Moments before player introductions:
Seattle's Breanna Stewart, post-free throw release:
Stewart's teammate, Sue Bird, watching a free throw attempt:
Seattle setting up the offense:
The Garden jumbotron displaying a victory in the books:
Storm head coach Jenny Boucek meets the media:

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