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Early Test for the Liberty

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May 19th 2017

Lynx 90 Liberty 71

 

“Supporting Casts”

 

The last time these two teams met at the Garden turned out to be classic overtime battle between two of the better teams in the league. Sugar Rodgers had a monster game with 30-points. The Lynx however got the win here at the Garden.

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Sugar Rodgers and Rebecca Allen pregame. Photo: Sherman Gomez for PureSportsNY

The Minnesota Lynx feature a line up that boasts four Olympians, Lindsay Wahlen, Sylvia Fowles, Seimone Augustus and of course former MVP and one of the biggest stars in the league Maya Moore. Always a formidable matchup for whomever they face.

 

The Liberty of course have their own league MVP in Tina Charles and a roster (with a few tweaks since last season) that won 21 games and led the Eastern Conference in wins for a majority of the 2016 season. They came up short in the playoffs as they faced a more seasoned Phoenix Mercury team.

 

The Liberty won their home opener against the San Antonio Stars but were not happy with how they played overall. They spoke about getting things back on track and doing the little things they needed to compete for a championship.

 

To begin the game against the Lynx, it was apparent that they were back on the right track. Sugar Rodgers was hot again as she had 8-points in the first the two very first plays of the game saw the Liberty focused and determined on defense forcing two consecutive turnovers which led to points in transition. At that point the Liberty led 6-0 then with about 7:20 left in the first Seimone Augustus after a beautiful crossover move hit a perimeter jumper followed by a three in transition and the Lynx took control of the momentum.

 

The UCONN connection of Tina Charles and Maya Moore were both scoreless in the first quarter. For both teams the play of the bench and the other players of their respective rotations would be pivotal to the outcome of the game.

 

The Liberty bench scored 17-points, the starters minus Tina Charles scored 48-points. The Lynx bench scored 28-points, the starters minus Maya Moore scored 46-points.

Maya finished with 16-points while Tina had 6-points for the Liberty. I highlight those stats  to show just how deep the Lynx are and how even with Maya Moore not having her usual prowess they were still able to come away with a decisive win.

 

“They are probably the best women’s basketball team in the world.” – Liberty Coach Bill Laimbeer.

 

The Liberty knew coming into this game that this would be a big test for them, the Lynx are a regular participant in the WNBA Finals and are a model for team chemistry , consistency and depth.

Tina Charles was under the weather and had not been feeling well for the past 3 days, she could not be herself. Her energy just wasn’t there. Coach Laimbeer felt that even though the Liberty roster isn’t as star laden as the Lynx, had they executed the offense more efficiently the outcome may have been different.

 

“If she’s (Tina Charles) not engaged in the ball game we will struggle. We just aren’t built around other players.” Coach Bill Laimbeer.

 

As for the other players, Sugar Rodgers had another good game with 20-points, shooting 4-7 from behind the arc while grabbing 7 boards. Brittany Boyd had 16-points before she left the game late with an ankle injury. Kia Vaughn again provided some good minutes off the bench as she had 7-points and 5 rebounds.

 

For the Lynx, the list of the others is lengthy; all the starters were in double figures in scoring Sylvia Fowles was dominant in the middle as was Rebekkah Brunson. Renee Montgomery added some feisty flare off the bench; Natasha Howard was also solid off the bench for the visitors.

 

Seimone Augustus had 11-points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, after Maya she is the most dangerous wing player on her squad as well as one of the most dangerous  in the league. The Lynx didn’t let their slow start to this game dictate the outcome. Their effort as an entire team for an entire game is what the Liberty will need to mimic if they have championship aspirations.

Note: Seimone Augustus may be one of the most fun players to interview and to be around in general. 

“We still feel like we have some work to do.” – Seimone Augustus

 

 

Thank you for reading.

Sherman Gomez is a staff writer for PureSportsNY

Follow him on Twitter: sherman@shermangmz1

Instagram: dash_nathan

Email: Sherman@puresportsny.com

All Photos and video by Sherman Gomez for PureSportsNY

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