The Best from the West and the Beast from the East are meeting up in a Brawl for it All in the Town… by the… Gown?
Sacramento has been a monster all season, going 9-4 (including 4 of their last 5) with tight losses to solid teams (one against Detroit, two against early-season Phoenix, an OT nail-biter against the Sparks). With a win on Saturday against the Shock, they proved that they’re contenders for the crown yet again. They’re not going to be an easy shot.
What’s surprising is that the Monarchs don’t have one or two superstars that the rest of the team feeds to. Don’t get me wrong; Kara Lawson, Nicole Powell, and Rebekkah Brunson are all stellar, but not in a Tamika Catchings/Diana Taurasi/Lauren Jackson kind of way. They all average over 10 ppg, but under 13.5.
They manage by playing a full team game and making sure to limit the amount of shots and points their opponents make. The Monarchs are second in the league in difference between points scored and points allowed (+5.84, behind Indiana’s obscene +9.38). They are also second in opponent’s shooting percentage, assist difference per game, and are first in the league in out-rebounding their opponents. They’re not slouches on steals or blocks, either.
What this all adds up to is a team that can pass, defend, move the ball, and grind their way to a win. They put defense as their top priority and don’t take stupid fouls or dumb shots. They’re a smart team and know how to play the court and force the opposition into their kinda game.
So, what are the Libs to do? We’re 2-6 in our last eight games, being outshot, outblocked, and outscored by degrees that I wouldn’t have thought possible in the beginning of the season.
The Liberty are indeed an East-Coast reflection of the Monarchs. They don’t focus on individual all-stars, but definitely move the team around, albeit not as well or efficiently as the Monarchs. Sacramento is ready for an upset, and the fans over there are getting a bit too big for their britches.
The key will be getting everybody to play up to their potential and for Coyle to quickly replace parts that are floundering against the Monarchs suffocation-esque defense. Moore has to be more consistent, Dutch has to use her presence, and the Middle-Man has got to start showing up before the second half.
We had a really good foundation to start the year on, beating some easy teams and picking up a quality win against Indiana, and how did we do it? Strong starts from stalwarts, aided by a strong reserve corp. We have the ability to beat a team on Sacramento’s level. We just need the Passion.
Thorn is out, and Christon still might be recovering from her stomach virus, so that means more is needed from our Unusual Gang of Idiots (that’s a MAD reference, yo). Janel has to keep her game up, and Barbara Farris has to score. That’s it. Keep your heads up, ladies, and fight to end the monarchy.
Mystics @ Sun
Silver Stars @ Comets
Sky @ Storm
Washington has been amazingly pathetic all season, despite blinding flashes of offense thanks to Alana Beard. The Sun, meanwhile, have dropped like a concrete block from the Empire State building. If either want to have any semblance of a playoff run to put together, they need to start putting up wins, and today is the day. The Sun are laughably bad at home (1-5), and though Mystics are slightly better on the road (2-5), it’s not by much. Personally, however, I think the Sun work better as a team and will be able to pull it together against the Mistakes. Sun by 8.
After losing their first 10, the Comets won their next two before dropping a game in Phoenix. They’re definitely not playoff ready, but they still have a quality team. The Silver Stars, however, have been hungrily scarfing down that kind of team, scrambling to keep up with the Monarchs. Hammon is a monster, and her team has responded well to her style of play. Expect more of the same here. Silver Stars by 7
I won’t make the Kansas joke here, though it is eating at my soul…
I hold my ground and stand against the tide when I say that the Sky are playing way above their talent level. The Storm have not proven to be the team that they set out to be at the beginning of the season, but they still have some amazing players on their team, and they’re going to be up in front of their passionate home-base. Lauren Jackson is God. You know the score. Storm by 5
ESPN power rankings are up. So are the WNBA’s . Both have us directly in the middle, but with today’s win, we’re going to bump a bit. They both make some good points. Take it in stride, and keep the chin up.
Graham Hays, over at ESPN , has an article about Cathrine Kraayeveld. It’s pretty informative, in an ESPN kind of way, and he pulled some stuff that even I didn’t know about Dutch, and I damn near started a religion with her as the chief deity.
All right. Nickname up in the afternoon. The usual tomfoolery will be present. Have a good work day.
See ya, Space Cowboy…