The New York Liberty defeated the Atlanta Dream on the road 73-64. But it was the physicality of the game that was the true story — and a rivalry renewed between coaches.
The one word that described this game – intense.
The tone of both teams was set by their coaches, who after more than 30 years, are still not exactly BFF’s. New York Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer (one of the original Detroit Pistons Bad Boys) stood, paced and yelled most of the game, while Atlanta Dream coach Michael Cooper (Los Angeles Lakers) was more reserved. These two have history, and it showed by the movement on the court.
This was a physical game. During the second quarter, the physicality really picked up, which resulted in double technicals on Tanisha Wright and Angel McCoughtry; Wright was also ejected from the game at this time.
New York came out gunning for Atlanta, and they did not let up. The leader of the Liberty onslaught was Sugar Rodgers, and she was anything but sweet towards the Dream. What couldn’t she do – she was killing it in the paint, getting rebounds and was a terror on defense – even Coach Laimbeer had high praise for her.
“Sugar is a quality guard and outstanding defender,” said Laimbeer.
If Sugar was the leader, her partner in crime was definitely Brittany Boyd who was in beast mode for all four quarters.
With Wright out, you figured this is the ammunition the Dream needed to turn this game around. Unfortunately, this helped the Liberty more, and by the third quarter Atlanta was down by 20 points.
The hero of the last game for the Dream, Angel McCoughtry, could do nothing, as she was saddled with foul trouble. So with the fourth quarter looking pretty grim and even after a 14-2 run by the Dream, it still was not enough to win.
New York won 73-64.
When asked about the double technical fouls and Wright’s ejection, Cooper summed it up best as he walked away: “I was just waiting to get my technical on big fat Bill Laimbeer.”
Yeah, it was that kind of game.