Liberty Preview

Emily and I and two of her friends went up to Madison Square Garden to see the pre-season game between the NY Liberty and the reigning WNBA champs, the Seattle Storm, who are led by one of the best players in the women’s game, point guard Sue Bird.

But here in NY, we also have one of the best players in the women’s game, Becky Hammon. So we were looking forward to the matchup.

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It’s an interesting contrast.  It reminds me of John Starks vs. Michael Jordan in some ways, although I hope it turns out better for the Liberty than Starks/Jordan turned out for the Knicks.

Sue Bird played for a great high school team (Christ the King), the best women’s college program in the country (UConn) where she won two NCAA championships and led her team to an undefeated 39-0 record her senior year. She was a number 1 pick in the 2002 draft.  And she’s already won a WNBA championship after only three years in the league and was on the 2004 gold medal winning Olympic team.

Becky Hammon has clawed her way to the top of the game through a much more difficult path. She played high school ball in Rapid City, SD, played college ball at Colorado State, and was overlooked in the 1999 draft.  She was not picked to be on the 2004 Olympics team.

But I don’t think there is a more exciting player in the women’s game today than Becky Hammon.  She is the Allen Iverson of the women’s game and will take it the hoop against anyone.  She’s got the most exciting passing game and she never backs down.

Yesterday, Becky completely outplayed Sue Bird and led the Liberty to a 72-58 thrashing of the league champs at the Garden.  Becky didn’t do it singlehandedly. Shameka Christon, my favorite young player on the team, had a game high 15 points and really showed that she belongs in the starting lineup.

My favorite play of the game was this killer crossover dribble where Becky just blew past Sue Bird on the way to the basket.  Vintage Becky Hammon.

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I know it was only pre-season, but we are looking forward to a lot more of this in 2005.