NEW YORK, N.Y. – JUNE 5, 2015 – The Liberty opened the season on a strong note with a thrilling 82-73 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Friday night in front of the home crowd at Madison Square Garden.
Tina Charles led the way for the team with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Swin Cash added 15 points, 11 of those coming in the second half on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. Brittany Byod was a source of energy in the first half, where she scored 12 of her 14 points, and dished out three assists.
Atlanta Dream’s Angel McCoughtry scored 27, with 14 in the second half with Tiffany Hayes adding 17 of her own including three 3-pointers.
“At training camp I told you all that I didn’t know what we have. I still don’t know, but I know how we are going to play,” said New York head coach Bill Laimbeer. “I know that we are going to be intense and how hard we are going to play. I know the chemistry of our ball club. All of these were on display tonight. I’d love to win, but if we lost we wanted to put on a good show for the fans because that is who they are in the locker room… I like this basketball team. They play hard. Now we’ll see how it transfers into wins and losses.”
The Liberty came out strong, taking a 17-point lead in the first quarter on a Tanisha Wright jumper.
Boyd took the point guard responsibilities for most of the 1st half and impressed in her official professional debut. She finished the second quarter with a slice into the lane for a lay in which put the Libs up 51-38 going into half time.
The Dream did not go away. They came out strong in the second half, going on a 10-2 run to start the third on a series of baskets by McCoughtry. But the Liberty got back into its tempo when Sugar Rodgers hit a 3 to regain a nine-point lead. Swin Cash also came alive late in the third. The forward hit a trey with1:50 to go giving the Liberty a 67-56 advantage. MSG was roaring.
Atlanta pulled it within six with two minutes to go in the fourth on a lay in from Erika DeSouza, but the Liberty followed with a lay-in from Cash off a sharp pass from Boyd, effectively icing the game.
New York is back in action on Saturday, as the Liberty travel to Washington to face the Mystics at the Verizon Center. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
- The Liberty rebounded from their preseason 85-72 loss to Atlanta by beating the Dream in convincing fashion tonight.
- Brittany Boyd made her WNBA debut in style, controlling the point guard spot for almost 20 minutes of the game.
- Tina Charles picked up right where she left off on the offensive end, finishing with 17 points with a combination of elbow jumpers and lay-ups.
- Tanisha Wright was the guard the Liberty went to late to control the tempo of the game, and she finished with 14 points and 5 assists.
- New York shot 48.3 percent from the field while limiting Atlanta to just 35.8 percent overall.
- The Liberty forced 12 first-half turnovers and held a 14-3 advantage in points off turnovers over the first 20 minutes of action.
- Despite being outrebounded 34-32, New York outscored Atlanta 40-24 in the paint.