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Brittany Boyd Has Electric Start in Liberty Home Opening Win

The Liberty 82-73 win over the Atlanta Dream at Madison Square Garden.

Photo Credit: Jason DeCrow

Photo Credit: Jason DeCrow


The youth movement which suddenly became the new philosophy of the New York Liberty payed dividends early as Brittany Boyd and Kiah Stokes played with abandon and the veterans showed their games to the tune of a very entertaining 82-73 win over the Atlanta Dream at Madison Square Garden.

There is a lot that’s new about the Liberty, such as Draftkings, the daily fantasy sports group whose name is now emblazoned across their uniforms, signifying New York’s new marquee marketing partner. But on the court, New York introduced seven new players through trades, free agent additions, and rookie draft picks. All three areas shined as the Liberty moved the ball well throughout. The recipient of a lot of these passes which set up a lot of easy scores was Tina Charles (17 points, 12 rebounds).

Tina, who is donating half her salary this year to Hopey’s Heart Foundation, is reflective of the giving attitude this team seems to have for each other.

“Everybody is very unselfish on this time,” Charles proclaimed. “It’s a night and day team from last year, a night and day locker room.”

Brittney Boyd, the number nine pick in this year’s draft, was the injection the Liberty has seen rarely. Boyd, though small, is extremely quick on the dribble, the crossover, and her drives were a blur. She carried the Liberty with her play at the point with 14 points and 4 assists. Charles nominated her the game ball, saying, “She came in and asserted herself as a rookie, played hard, didn’t get flustered.”

Kia Stokes, the NCAA champion from Connecticut rookie battled with Erika De Souza, with an impact that did not show on the scoreboard but underlined the energy the newbies brought to this contest.

“Coach did a great job rebuilding this team,” Stokes smiled. “He wanted us to get a fresh start, a new mentality and chemistry. I think it’s working so far.”

The veterans also impressed as Tina Charles revved up, scoring 14 and Tanisha Wright, lost in the shine of Boyd’s success, showed that she will run this team which her experience as she scored 14 points and added five assists while doing the various subtle things that come so easily from a player of quality. Free agent pickups Candice Wiggins and Carolyn Swords were respectively fast and physical. Aussie forward Rebecca Allen is smooth on the dribble and among her six points was a nice drive after losing her defender. The Liberty went into the half leading 51-38.

Essence Carson is back. The swooping drive for a layup symbolized the long road back to form from a knee injury two years ago.

“I feel like I can explode like I used to, get the lift on the jumper,” said Carson. “I feel great.”

But Essence is a smart basketball player, finding players with impossible passes, knowing when to shoot, when to drive or pass. It was quite noticeable in New York’s play.

“This team, this year definitely has a higher basketball IQ,” Essence responded. “Its either you have it or you don’t.”

This was something not lost on Atlanta star Angel McCoughtry, who led with 27 points and 8 boards but was frustrated throughout by the quick hands of veterans like Swin Cash who hit for 15 tonight, Essence, Rebecca Allen, and Tanisha Wright who harrassed her throughout.

“New York outplayed us. They played, sprinted, and rebounded harder than us,” Angel responded. “That’s why they won the game tonight.”

Essence agreed, “We’re a running team now. We can get up there with the best of them or if we need to slow it down and execute, we can do that as well.”

Charles excitedly added, “We have the best of both worlds.”

Angel did spark a comeback as the Dream cut into the big lead and trailed 67-59 after three. Shoni Schimmel started getting off, finishing with ten herself as they got as close as six. But the Liberty did what needed to be done whenever it was needed. Sugar Rodgers hit a big three and was a lock down defender all night. But it was her strip steal followed by a behind the back flip to Charles which started the fast break that turned momentum again when it seemed a collapse was imminent.

“That’s just something I do, I defend, I rebound, I share the ball,” Sugar explained. “I knew I could keep it in, I passed it to Tina, who passed it to Tanisha, who passed it up to Swords.”

The Liberty went on to hold the fort. Every player is determined to get in. Bill Laimbeer biggest problem is finding time for all of them. But after a team display that saw New York win by nine over a division rival, and entertained in addition, he will take it.

“I like this basketball team and who they are,” Laimbeer said. “Now let’s see how it translates into wins.” The Liberty are in Washington D.C. tonight to take on the Mystics. This is the first team in my career this deep and shows how much depth we have.”

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