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Liberty Rally to Break the Fever

(Via NYLiberty Twitter)

(Via NYLiberty Twitter)

Things didn’t start as well as expected. New York was a bit off on the offensive end. However, they were still as active defensively as they rode Tina Charles and Essence Carson to a 86-79 win over the Indiana Fever.

The youth movement continued with Kiah Stokes starting at center and Brittany Boyd getting a nod at the point as a result of her inspired play since joining the Liberty. She started slowly, but Boyd gives New York a dimension of attack that opens up so much for the rest.

“I didn’t think I would start coming in,” Boyd said. “But I work hard, have a feel for this game. Everyday is a work in progress.”

Layshia Clarendon and Tamika Catchings hit for 15 total points to start the game, but Carson, once again a force led with six points, eleven at the half hitting three of three from behind the three-point arc. Carson continues to game in and game out show the skillset that makes her as explosive an offensive force as Boyd. But, defense is what makes it for her and the Liberty.

“We take pride in stops, cutting down penetration,” Essence beamed. “If you go into the paint you know your shot is going into the first row because Kiah (Stokes) will swat it.”

The unsung hero of the first half was Carolyn Swords, who has done a lot of the dirty work, holding down the middle with tough rebounds and even getting crucial points. This allowed the Liberty to lead on the rebounding sheet 17-16 at the half, and New York entered the locker room down by only three. The work of the younger bigs like Stokes is taking a lot of pressure off of Charles, and working together to set up one time passes out of double teams which Indiana tried hard to implement.

“You have to show patience, and that’s a weakness for me, I’m not a patient person,” Tina laughed. “But the more they double team me, I know my teammates are going to knock down the shots.”

The third period was the coming out party as Charles (21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) started getting off with her turn around jumper and easy layups from several teammates. Tanisha Wright again ran the point smoothly hitting for 12 points, three rebounds, and five assists of her own. Boyd came on late, finishing with eight points and five assists. After three, the Liberty had opened it up to 62-54.

Stokes, another rookie doing big things is taking on the bigs at center, keeping Tina from having to slug with them every night. Stokes added 11 points  and six boards and was very active shot blocking. She had three, including an incredible swat in the fourth which drew ‘ahs’ from the Madison Square Garden crowd.

“We cant necessarily dunk, so getting a nice block, that helps the crowd and our team get energized,” said Stokes.

“We’re learning, we get it,”  Laimbeer said. “Playing two rookies is tough but Boyd grew up some more and you see Kiah’ capabilities.”

Laimbeer is excited knowing what the full game playlist can bring.

“I put a lot of stuff in the first two weeks of training camp,” said the head coach. “I think the execution of our sets is one of the big things that can help us out and our defense is solid.”

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