Liberty postpone game due to ‘air quality’

New York to travel to Atlanta for Friday's contest vs. Dream

June 8, 2023 John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The New York Liberty were eager to get the bad taste of Sunday afternoon’s loss to Chicago out of their mouths Wednesday night at Downtown’s Barclays Center.

Instead, they awoke to an acrid smell in the air.

The Liberty wisely announced the postponement of their scheduled game with the Minnesota Lynx due to the ongoing air quality issues caused by Canadian wildfires, and will have to wait until Friday night in Atlanta at the earliest to return to the hardwood.

“Tonight’s game against the Minnesota Lynx has been postponed due to the poor air quality in the New York City area impacting Barclays Center following the wildfires in Canada,” the Liberty officially announced several hours before their scheduled 7 p.m. tip-off vs. the Minnesota Lynx.

“The city has been placed under an Air Quality Health Advisory until Thursday morning,” the statement continued. “This decision has been made to protect the health and safety of our fans, teams and community.”

The game, which followed New York’s humbling 86-82 setback to the Sky here last weekend, has not yet been rescheduled.

The Lynx (1-6) will not return to the Greater New York Area until June 22, when they visit Connecticut. The Liberty (4-2) will be in Atlanta again on June 23 and travel to Washington D.C, on June 25.

That may provide a window for the team’s to meet again on either June 24 or June 26. However, Minnesota has a June 27 game in Seattle and the Liberty will be in Connecticut that same day.

Rescheduling issues aside, the call was the right one after New York’s air quality index soared into the 330s as game time approached.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone showed up in the Bronx Wednesday before MLB called his team’s scheduled contest vs. Chicago. AP Photo by Lindsey Wasson

Of course, the Liberty weren’t the only local team affected by the smoky, hazy skies hanging over our borough and the rest of the state.

The Yankees and White Sox postponed their game at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night, and were tentatively scheduled to play a single-admission doubleheader in the Bronx, pending better conditions, beginning at 4 p.m.

“It was business as usual for me coming in. I got in around 12, 12:30, and didn’t really think too much of it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I actually walked outside about 2 o’clock and was like — like everyone else — like, whoa.”

Detroit’s game at Philadelphia was also called by Major League Baseball ahead of the 6:05 p.m. first-pitch time.

“These postponements were determined following conversations throughout the day with medical and weather experts and all of the impacted clubs regarding clearly hazardous air quality conditions in both cities,” MLB said in a statement.

The Brooklyn Cyclones, who had a special 11 a.m. start time Wednesday for Education Day, actually completed their contest at Coney Island’s Maimonides Park. But the National Women’s Soccer League postponed visiting Orlando’s match against Gotham in Harrison, N.J.

“The match could not be safely conducted based on the projected air quality index,” the NWSL told the Associated Press.

The Jets and Giants both cancelled their offseason workout activities.

The Liberty will head to Atlanta after squandering a 19-point second-half lead to the Sky Saturday.

New York was on the verge of a fifth consecutive win before things fell apart at Barclays, leaving head coach Sandy Brondello to criticize her team for falling asleep and needing a “wake-up” call.

Dubbed a WNBA “Superteam” due to their impressive offseason haul of talent, the Liberty will try to get back in the win column against the Dream (2-3), who are coming off last Friday’s 92-87 loss to defending champion Las Vegas.

The Liberty will be eager to shake off their worst defeat of the year thus far, one that saw them open the game on a 13-0 run and hold a 17-point halftime lead before point guard Courtney Vandersloot’s ex-teammates denied her a home-and-home sweep of the Sky.

But first, like the rest of us, they have to take a deep, healthy breath.

The Statue of Liberty was almost obscured from sight on a day New York saw its air quality index soar to unhealthy heights. AP Photo by Yuki Iwamura

GIVE ME LIBERTY: Breanna Stewart, who came here with Vandersloot and Jonquel Jones this past offseason to form Brooklyn’s “Big Three”, had 20 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday’s loss after earning Eastern Conference Player of the Month honors for May. … After visiting Atlanta, the Liberty will be back in Brooklyn on Tuesday to kick off a three-game homestand against Dallas.

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