A New York Liberty Blog

Friday, June 29, 2007

WEEK IN REVIEW – Liberty at .500


San Antonio 70, New York 63
Indiana 74, New York 63
Sacramento 59, New York 46

It’s not been a good week for the Libs. When you can’t score more than 63 points, that’s not a good sign. When a former teammate all but swears a blood-oath, that’s an even worse sign. And when your entire team just seems to give up in the fourth quarter? Well…

The team that started out 5-0 (admittedly against some weaker teams) has come across looking like a team that’s going to scrape the bottom of the playoff bracket. With losses to San Antonio, Indiana, and Sacramento, it drops us to an even 7-7.

That’s legalized sodomy is what that is.

Thanks to the pure ineptitude of the cellar of the East, we’re still in Third, but that’s damning by faint praise. Even sticking in our same divisional spot, we could be in a hell of a lot better shape. Had we won just one of those games - say, the game against Chicago…

Alternative nicknames for the Sky: The Suck, the Jumpers (as in Bandwagon), the Clowns, and the Please-Ignore-This-Comment-And-Call-Me-Back-Claire-Cogginses.

…we’d be three games ahead of the Sky and with a comfortable lead-in going into this weekend’s games. As it is, there is very little margin for error with the Sparks and Storm.

And you know what a stickler I am for margins.

The Middle-Man was benched last game due to her play. Thor is slowing down. Battle and Moore are all over the map, while Dutch isn’t acting very Dutch-like at all.

More like a Walloon, if you ask me.

Still, there is some good news on the horizon. Thorn will be back soon, the Belles can’t ignore their talent forever, and after a four game cab ride through Hell (Detroit, Sacramento, Indiana, Detroit again), the rest of our schedule is very doable.

Doable. The greatest semi-English word in the Extended Slang Dictionary.


Cathrine Kraayeveld – 31 points
Lisa Willis – 30 Points
Ashley Battle – 16 Rebounds

Smile, baby, Smile…


Shameka Christon – 9 points in 2 games.
Jessica Davenport – Last two games? 18 minutes total.
Loree Moore – 17 points against Indiana. The game before and after? A total of 2.

Cuz if you don’t, you’d surely weep…

All right, enough of that. Live in the now! Remember the past, but look to the future!

Californ-ee is the place for me!


For some reason, I started my game preview for Seattle before I started on the one for L.A.

I’m crazy like that.

In any case, if you want a bit more depth, look below for the Libs. Up here, I’m going to deal with L.A.

As well as anyone CAN deal with L.A.

The Sparks are in 3rd in the West, but only a half a game separates them from 5th. After Holdsclaw retired, many people were predicting the Sparks to go down in flames, but it has, in fact, not been quite so cut and dry. L.A. continues to play a very strange game that yields odd results that are all over the map.

Much like any number of presidential hopefuls…

Witness two wins over Sacramento, but a loss to Minnesota. McWilliams-Franklin leads the team in points (12.7), but the strength of the Sparks relies on their team-first attitude, passing the ball around (much like the Libs) and finding chinks in their opponents armor. They’re not the best in any single category, but they do well enough in the good ones to take down opponents much larger than them.

State Law requires a David and Goliath reference…

Michael Cooper (Head Coach and Lakers God for the uninitiated) knows how to make something out of very little. Considering that one of his strongest players skipped town, he’s done an admirable job keeping an off-kilter and underwhelming L.A. team together. Of course, after winning two Championships, one picks up a few things.

They say that if he looks you in the eyes, your body bursts into rapturous flame…

  • Shut down passing lanes. Force individual Sparks into bad situations and force them to turnover the ball.
  • Start to hit 3’s again. The Sparks are abysmal in their defense beyond the arc (with the worst defense of any .500+ team), and if we can take it to them from there, the game is almost assured.
  • Take choice fouls. The Sparks are also bad at the line (although not as bad as the Libs…), and if needed, some tough-driving could send a message while cutting down on some “assured” points.
Then it’s off to the Emerald City…


The Liberty (7-7) take in their third game of their West Coast road trip against the Seattle Storm (7-7) on Sunday at 9ET/6PT. The Liberty are 2-7 after opening 5-0, while the Storm lost last night against the Comets, continuing down the path of their up-and-down season.

Like the Cyclone? Try the Storm.

The Storm are the (pen)ultimate team for a passionate fan. They have a pair of superstars to root for, a emotional-roller coaster of a coach, a winning history, heart-breaking losses, pressure, and an up-and-down season that can just as easily deliver triumph as despair.

The Key Arena has 911 on Speed Dial.

New York, meanwhile, has been a sleeping giant, with great performances from individual players that don’t reoccur with any frequency or along any other teammates wavelength. Thorn is out, Davenport is in a slump, Christon/Kraayeveld/Moore are all playing below potential, and their never-say-die attitude, once touted as their greatest strength, has… well, died.

You my boy, Blue!

Seattle, with Lauren Jackson leading the league in PPG (as well as being in the top 6 in FG%, 3P%, and FT), has been solid at home (5-2), however, while the Liberty have suffered most of their losses on the road (2-4). One team is coming out over .500, the other, below. It’s going to be a knock-down, drag-‘em-out fight to the finish.

Keep it clean and come out boxing!

  • Lockdown Bird or Jackson. Containing both is out of the question, but when one of Seattle’s bulldogs is chained, the bite is taken out of their game.
  • Hit the basket. Be patient and take quality shots. Bad angles lead to bad rebounds lead to a rush back to the other court.
  • Play strong D. This is connected with the first point, but it is strong. When the Liberty have a good perimeter, they win games. When they open up and let people walk in, they lose.
  • Come out on fire. Setting up an early lead sends a big message and takes the edge off of the later part of the game, when the Libs are apt to take more chances and hurt themselves in the process.

Houston 81, Seattle 76

A close game, but the Comets showed that they can give as good as they take, putting the Storm on their heels at the half and never letting go. The Comets effectively shut down Sue Bird, who had no points for the night and just three assists, and while Jackson (25 pts) and Lennox (23 pts) picked up the slack, it wasn’t enough. Tina Thompson and her entourage had a great game and pressed the Storm into oblivion. The team that started out 0-10 is now 4-1 in their last five.

Well played, gals.

Fever @ Sun
Shock @ Mystics
Lynx @ Silver Stars
Sky @ Monarchs

Mercury @ Comets

Sky @ Mystics

The Sun need to turn around, but the Fever keep rolling like the Stones.

70 and Sexy, baby!

Tamika Catchings is playing in a near omnipotent fashion and the Fever’s defense is considered a war-crime in several countries. The Sun, meanwhile, look like their out of gas. The have to refill sometime, but Indiana is going to make it hard. Fever by 8.

Shock in Washington? No. Sorry, no. Not even going to bother. Shock by 10.

The Lynx take on the Silver Stars. Seimone Augusts is the only reason the Lynx have four wins, and while San Antonio isn’t nearly as intimidating as they seem (says a Libs fan), they get the job done. Becky Hammon is making a strong case for MVP, and the Lynx can’t keep a run going to save their lives. Silver Stars by 7.

The Sky at Monarchs? I wish I could downplay the Sky, but they’ve proven they can win a handful of games. The Monarchs, however, have a heart of black coal and would strangle a kitten with their defense if it meant holding onto first place.

No kittens were harmed in the making of this post. Please don’t call PETA.

Look for the Monarchs to continue their black reign of hideously strong D. Monarchs by 7 1/2.
The Mercury in Houston? Who’s going to win? The upstart Comets, with their bellies full of fire and their stool full of blood? Or the Mercury, the fleet-footed, zero-defense Gods of Old? Taurasi makes any game interesting, but I believe she’s still out on parole after her tirade with the refs. I’m going to put my money where my mouth is: I think people are giving the Comets WAY to much crap. Houston… to win.

Another battle of the depths. The Sky are horrid, but Washington is – marginally – coming around. Both have strong individuals – Dupree (CHI) and Beard (WAS) – but lack that cohesiveness that a strong team needs. It all depends on who sucks less that game, frankly. My uncle always taught me to bet against the team that you love, mostly because he was a cynical bastard who always believed in defeat, but also because if the team you hate wins, it means that you were right. Better right and unhappy than wrong and unhappy. Sky by 6.

All right, this has been a massive post. I need to get some work done. I hope you all have a good weekend. I’m not even going to try to put stuff up tomorrow. Check back on Monday, where I will be cheering the victories two glorious victories (by a combined scored of 240-16 and marking the surprise return of Weatherspoon to the court). Until then…

See ya, Space Cowboy…

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