September 10th 2017
Mystics 82 Liberty 68
Playoff misery continues.
The 2017 season ended yesterday for the New York Liberty. After winning 10 straight games to finish the regular season they faced a Washington Mystics team that had already won a playoff game against the Dallas Wings. It was a tough loss for a team that had high expectations heading into the playoffs as they looked to erase the horrible memories from an early playoff exit last season against the Phoenix Mercury.
Much could be said about the current WNBA playoff format, two rounds of one game elimination matchups. However, every team has the same advantage, you win one game and you move on. The Mystics took full advantage of the format and did what they were supposed to do.
The first quarter of this game saw the Liberty go on a 17-2 run giving them a 21-10 lead as they headed to the 2nd. The Mystics did rally but the home team seemed to be in control as the game progressed. The Liberty took a 41-35 lead into the half, then, it happened. Kristi Toliver happened, in the third quarter she erupted offensively. She hit 5 threes, and put on a historic playoff shooting display.
“This is the first time I felt nervous coming into a basketball game.”- Kristi Toliver
Toliver was the story of the game, she finished with 32-points connecting on 9 threes. She is no stranger to big time playoff moments especially after coming off a championship run with her former team (LA Sparks). She was just unreal and unconscious. Elena Delle Donne also had a solid game for the visitors she finished with 18-points and 10-rebounds. Toliver decided to wear some Kobe Bryant and Kyrie Irving themed Nike sneakers to the game and she seemed to emulate both NBA superstars with her performance.
“I’ve never witnessed something like that, she was unreal… when she’s going off like that we just do all the little things and let her go.” – Elena Della Donne
For the Liberty it was another heartbreaking end to the season, however they showed perseverance and character as they got over some early season struggles and gelled as a team and gelled to become teammates. They played for each other and it showed, especially during the ten game wining streak. It was just a really tough loss.
“Come playoffs it’s a different ball game..” – Tina Charles
Tina didn’t want to look ahead to next season as she stated in her postgame press conference, she was still taking in this loss and how the season played out. They accomplished a lot this season but a longer playoff run was what the team aspired to do.
It was a pleasure covering the New York Liberty this season. I enjoyed every minute of it, game day was always a special time for me. Seeing the ladies work hard during their pre-game routine as they prepared for the games was special. Talking to the players in the locker room was also something I cherished as well. To Tina, Sugar, Lindsay, Shavonte, Kiah, Kia, Nayo-Rain, Bria, Rebecca, Amanda, Brittany and Epiphanny good luck during your off season and over seas commitments and see you next year.
Nothing but respect for the ladies of the New York Liberty.
Thank You for reading
Sherman Gomez is a Staff Writer for PureSportsNY
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Photo Credit: Nathaniel S Butler/ Getty Images