New York Liberty Outdoor Classic
The WNBA's New York Liberty Outdoor Classic was the first regular season outdoor game in professional basketball history, as well as the first non-tennis sporting event at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Arthur Ashe Stadium, Queens, New York. It was considered a home game for the Liberty, but the visiting Indiana Fever, led by Katie Douglas's 20 points, stepped up and dominated, winning 71-55. The Liberty simply couldn't make a basket.
A very hot day in New York, official attendance for the game was listed at 19,393 -- though that seems like an exaggeration. Still, lots of fans came, fascinated by the unique basketball event.
For the Fever, Katie Douglas (7-of-13) had 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists (but 4 turnovers) and 2 steals. Tamika Catchings (4-of-9) had 15 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists (but 4 turnovers) and 4 steals. Ebony Hoffman scored 12 with 2 steals and 2 blocks but had 6 turnovers and no assists. Tammy Sutton-Brown had 12 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks.
No one stepped up to score for the Liberty. Janel McCarville (just 3-of-10), New York's only player to score double-digits, had just 10 points, plus 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Shameka Christon (awful 2-of-13, 1-of-6 threes) had 9 points, 3 steals but 6 turnovers. Loree Moore (just 2-of-7) scored 7. Tiffany Jackson had 6 points and a team-high 6 rebounds.
Indiana shot 47.3%, New York just 28.6%. And Indiana nailed 8-of-16 three-pointers. Rebounds, assists and turnovers was fairly close.
With the win, Indiana took the series lead at 2-1. It was the Liberty's first loss in New York since June 8 (against Sacramento).
Liberty coach Pat Coyle spoke on making history: “It was not the outcome we were expecting. This game was an unbelievable experience. Being the first at playing outdoors and making history is special. That part was terrific.”
“I was disappointed for the thing we did and didn’t do on the court tonight," said Coyle. "Too many things effected us and I am not referring to the outside factors. I mean our play on the court was disappointing.”
Coyle recognized that Indiana played well. “Indiana did a lot of switches were we could not adjust. I have to give them credit. They cam in and played a lot better than us tonight bottom line. It’s even more disappointing that Indiana came off a back-to-back. We didn’t make any shots. Tonight we broke out of things too quickly. We stopped running our cuts and stopped going hard off screens. The loss was more on us [Liberty] than on Indiana.”
Cathrine Kraayeveld spoke on the outside WNBA game: “It’s just a little different being outside. You’re not really looking up in the sky or up to the ceiling if you are indoors. We knew we were outside but we really didn’t have that feeling. No matter what you still have to shoot, you still have to play your game, you can’t try to think about it and adjust.“
Indiana's Katie Douglas was happy to be a part of history: “It meant a lot. I am extremely fortunate to be on this franchise, to be a part of this history. I think the other teams who were not a part of this definitely missed something great. Unfortunately, only two teams could play and I am fortunate to be on one of the teams that got to play in it. I think ten years down the road, even more so, you will look back on this game and say that was really something special to be a part of.”
So was Catchings: “It is very exciting for us to be a part of it. I feel fortunate to have played in the first college game with Tennessee. Now being able to play in the first WNBA game, I think it is definitely a monumental moment. I think of all the things we have had to overcome and to have the longest running women’s professional league here in the WNBA. On top of that to have the WNBA play its first outdoor game. We played in Radio City a couple years ago and now to play in Arthur Ashe it is definitely ... we are taking big steps, we are taking big strides.”