One cannot spell “White Plains” without “W” and “L”.
The New York Liberty had hoped to open its new Westchester home with that “W” – and they came close, but still suffered a 78-72 “L” at the hands of the Minnesota Lynx.
With less than 30 seconds to play in the game, New York had a 72-71 lead on Minnesota and played the champions tough all game despite still being without important players such as Sugar Rodgers and Epiphanny Prince.
An inbounds pass to Maya Moore led to her taking a straightaway three-pointer only a few seconds after said inbounds. Moore drained the trey, giving her Lynx a 74-72 lead – an advantage they would maintain for good.
— WNBA (@WNBA) May 26, 2018
That was plan “C,” that’s all I’ll say. It was the feel I didn’t have a predetermined move or shot. I’m just grateful that the shot went in.
The identity of this team is grinding out hard games on the road. We needed that. It could have gone one direction or the other. Getting key stops, that’s how you win on the road. Five minutes to go in the game, we have a chance to win the game, so we gut it out and that’s what it took.
If the game itself was any indication, Shavonte Zellous, who defended Moore when she swished the go-ahead triple, got exactly the shot she wanted her to take – Moore simply hit paydirt.
The Lynx and Liberty only hit a combined nine threes for the game. Minnesota shot just over 22 percent from behind the arc and New York was an eyelash below 21 percent from downtown – not exactly three-point contest numbers.
On the other end of the floor after Moore’s three, Kia Nurse hoped to answer with a midrange two to tie it up, but Nurse’s try would not find the enter of the hoop.
Nurse was the Liberty’s second leading scorer for the game with another 14 points off the bench. Tina Charles finished with 18.
For the Lynx, 69 of their 78 points came from four players – Seimone Augustus (21), Moore (20), Sylvia Fowles (15 and 11 rebounds), and Danielle Robinson (13).
I don’t know how New York feels about playing here, but it’s a good atmosphere. It feels like the fans are right on top of you. They made a lot of noise, they had a full crowd tonight for the opener. I feel it’s a great place to start. As women, we are making progress in the world, and if we have to take a step back to go forward, sometimes that’s what it takes.
In addition to the play on the field, the aura of playing at the Westchester County Center was going to be a question that would garner its lion’s share of responses.
It was a blast! Great energy and very intimate! It’s a very cozy place that is great for basketball, great place for us to play and I hope the fans had a good time as well.
–Liberty head coach Katie Smith on playing in Westchester
You know my father is from Brooklyn and he came out, my mother is in Long Island and she came out. We are very thankful for the commitment for our season ticket holders and just what the New York Liberty management was able to do to make it close to the same atmosphere and feel as Madison Square Garden.
–Tina Charles on playing in Westchester
As for as the Liberty’s play was concerned, Smith – who has received lots of attention for her hard-nosed, player-esque approach to the coaching role – feels her team is continuing to go in the right direction despite being down several players.
We definitely moved the ball better. We had an improvement on offense and defense. We will get better and they definitely played extremely hard.
Up next for the Lynx is Sunday when after the short drive, flight, or Acela train ride from New York, they will take on the Mystics in Washington, D.C.
Still in search of their first victory of the season, the Liberty will host the Wings on Tuesday night.