It started off with strong ball in the first quarter. 18-13 was the score after eight and a half minutes, and then the teams dug in for a brawl to see who could push the other off the top of the mountain. Neither succeeded, and the quarter ended with no baskets made in the last 1:42. It was a good period, full of nuance and panache, due mostly to solid shots and rebounds from Thor and Dutch.
The 2nd quarter started off strong, with a Lib possesion that led to a three-pointer from Battle (Thor tried a 3-pter as well, but missed on purpose to spread the awesome around)...
But, unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. It wasn't a bad quarter, mind you, and at the end of the half, the Libs were still up by five. However, the Sun came out and showed why they had won seven of their last eight. This wasn't going to be a cakewalk.
Dutch gets fouled and we walk into the lockerroom, 36-31. It's going to be a tough game, that's for sure, and the Sun are driving hard, showing the Libery what they're made of at the beginning of the next quarter, going on an eleven-point tear after a lay-up from McCarville.
In that span, there were six missed shots, and though McCarville rebounded three of them, even she couldn't get a basket in.
It was pretty much back and forth ball after the mid-quarter TO, with the game tied and the Libs reeling. Things got a bit stronger by the end, with three straight baskets by the Liberty to end the quarter, but the message has been sent.
Four missed shots and a shot-clock violation for Connecticut start off a seemingly boring 4th Quarter.
Then, things get interesting. The Sun foul the Libs three straight times. Six foul shots later, and the score is 59-57. Another shot, and then ANOTHER Connecticut foul.
The Libs wouldn't score a non-foul shot basket until four minutes into the quarter. Thankfully, they make all eight foul shots.
It's turned into a hot-and-heavy game, with fouls left and right, solid shots, rebounds, and fantastic gameplay. Defense is bending, but not breaking, and it looks like the Libs are going to pull it off.
The Liberty are up 73-72 with 49 seconds left in the game. The Sun's take it, Maltsi scores a sick three at :36 to make it 75-73, but Thorn drives and evens it up at 75. This is going to be a...
77-75. The Libs take the ball, but there's some bad mojo in the air. Moore makes a bad pass, and is stolen by Maltsi.
Dutch has to foul, and Maltsi goes to the line.
79-75. Thor makes a half-court 3-point shot, but misses. The Sun swarm the court. The Libs collapse. Game.
- Maltsi was an animal tonight. The WNBA site is giving it up to Jones for putting the Sun ahead, but Maltsi stole the ball that forced the free-throws that she nailed to seal the deal. Well-played.
- McCarville was her usual self tonight; that is, awesome. 24 points and 10 rebounds.
- Tops for the Libs: Moore (14), Christon (12), Thorn (9), and Dutch (8).
- The Sun? Five players over 11 points, including all of their starters. Lindsay Whalen led the team with 20 points and 9 rebounds.
- Dydek (CON) was injured two and half minutes in, but it seems to be minimal.
- The Liberty are now 10-13. Dammit.
Houston 80, New York 74
Seattle 77, New York 75
Connecticut 79, New York 75
How does it feel to be in fifth place, tied with Washington, after being in First only two months ago?
We were ahead in all three games and had the game in hand in two of them. Scoring 74 or 75 points is enough to win a game when you defense is on and your team is clicking together like a stick-shift Thunderbird's engine.
But when your defense is mediocre and only certain gears are kicking in at certain points, well... you might as well be riding around in something that GM made.
McCarville is once again dominating, and Dutch has seemingly woken up as well, although there are still some severe lapses in her game. Davenport is still relegated to the bench, Thor plays when she wants to, Moore plays like Mr. Fantastic the one minute and the Invisible Woman the next, and everybody else can't seem to figure out what time to show up to the game?
What is going on with our team? We had these three games. Had we won them, as we should have, we'd be 13-10 and firmly in third place, only 2.5 games out of second place. As it is, we're now 7.5 games out of first (5.5 out of second, and a half game out of playoff position) and tied for last in the division. In August, if we're a game out of the post-season, we're going to look back on this three-game stretch and shake our heads.
Coyle started spreading the bench (FINALLY!) in last night's game, but it was too little, too late. We really need more out of our starters, and if we can't get it, give it to the benchies. They are desperate for the time and I know that, even if they can't win, they'll at least pour their heart into the game. That's at least a better product, and maybe it'll wake up the starting corp.
My advice? Start Doron and Willis at Guard, Janel McCarville at Center (she doesn't deserved to be benched), and Davenport and Weber in at the Forward positions.
Why? You have one player (Doron) who got a taste of the game and is itching to prove that she can handle it, you another veteran who has the brilliance to play and is looking for an option, one first-round pick who has just started to wake up, one rookie who started off strong then faded (and is hungry to get back in), and a strong forward who has never played before and is looking to prove that she can handle the professional game. And if they suck? We lose! Hey, it's what we're doing anyway.
Hopefully Coyle reads this blog. We can't just keep sending the message to the regulars, saying that sub-par performances are okay and losing isn't that bad at this point in the season. Five more losses and we're under .500 for the year.
We need to right this ship, and if we can't do that, send a message.
So I don't have to get up and fight off my awful weekend internet connection, I will preview Sunday's game for you guys here.
If you want something in depth, look at my post from yesterday, as it all basically applies here as well.
Seriously, it sucks that Moore gave up that turnover with less than 30 seconds left, but had she not been put into that position by the ten other players that saw court-time yesterday, it wouldn't have mattered. She scored 14 points. I have no qualms with her.
At least the ladies know how the game should go down now. The Sun are riding high and are looking to be taken down a peg. We're going to get a bigger crowd (Sunday afternoon and the combined Sun and Lib crowds, plus the Tri-State rivalry thing). Let's take it to 'em and send 'em home without the shirts on their backs.
KEYS TO A NEW YORK VICTORY
- SHUT DOWN THE BIG FOUR!!! SHUT THEM DOWN! DON'T TALK ABOUT IT! DO IT! The three who played last night combined for 47 points.
- Step it up.
- Keep hitting the shots. The Libs had a really strong shooting game, but couldn't close the door.
- Defense. Don't let the Sun dominate the physical game.
And everybody? I am desperate to go to the game on Sunday, but if I can't, I need all of you to head out, cheer your head off, and if at all possible, give the Libs the boost they need to stop this free-fall. It would also be rather cool if you called the ladies by their proper nicknames.
Sacramento 60, Fever 50
Chicago 83, Detroit 73
I'm surprised that the Fever can't hold it together without Catchings. I should have figured that Sacramento could shut them down, but beating a reeling team doesn't exactly ring a resounding endorsement for their skills. All and all, a boring, boring, boring game.
As for Chicago, they soundly thumped Detroit. They started off strong, got a bit shakey, and then caught a second wind that carried them through the last two quarters. Monster game from Candice Dupree, and without Cheryl Ford, the Shock looked unfocused. Good job by the Sky containing the Shocks offense. Did I just compliment the Sky?
Houston @ San Antonio
Los Angeles @ Minnesota
Phoenix @ Chicago
Indiana @ Seattle
An all Texas match-up that should feature plenty of hootenany, bull-riding, and Becky Hammon walking around naked.
The Comets are fading a bit while the Silver Stars are still hot. Houston also has an astoundlingly poor road record (2-9), while the Silver Stars can take any team that is thrown at them. I suggest that the Comets rest their stars, chalk this up for a loss, give their scrubs a chance to play, and focus on their game against Chicago on Sunday. If not, they could lose both and fall into an even deeper pit. Silver Stars by 7.
Wait. Is this a Lynx game? And Los Angeles is desperate to keep their increasingly dim playoff hopes alive? And is Seimone Augustus rumored to be hurt? Yes, yes, and double-yes. This is the best chance that the Lynx have of getting out of last place, and I don't think they have it in them. Sparks by 8.
The Mercury are playing hard and hot, winning seven of their last ten and making a giant case for a group MVP to be shared by Pondexter, Taurasi, and Taylor.
Chicago is coming off a huge game against Detroit, but they haven't had a rest and what little crowd comes to their game isn't a big enough pep to push them over the top scoring team in the league. Phoenix is called the Hammer for a reason. The Sky's defense will fall. Mercury by 9.
Indiana got their collective asses kicked last night, and now they're travelling across the country to play against a team who has two superstars that even Joe-Schmoe-I-Hate-WNBA-Basketball can recognize.
Indiana has to wake up if they're going to have a semblance of a playoff run, but Seattle is a monster at home.
The 'noid being the Storms rip-roaring offense and the salmonella that they put into their opponents water-bottles. Storm by 5.
Detroit @ Washington
Washington is a bit better than they were, but Detroit can handle them. The Shock need to maintain a tough exterior, even if they aren't really threatened for the top spot in the East. The Mystics, meanwhile, are over-relying on their stars, and it's going to back-fire.
Detroit is way too talented to lose to the Sun and the Mystics in a row. And if they decide to rest their starters and take a break, I guess I can't deny them that, either. If all goes as planned, however, expect a trouncing of Biblical proportions.
Los Angeles @ Detroit
Houston @ Chicago
Indiana @ Phoenix
Minnesota @ Sacramento
San Antonio @ Seattle
The second of back-to-back games for Detroit. I feel that the Sparks can play better than the Mystics when they're on and play much, much worse when they don't want to show up.
The Shock aren't travelling that far and won't have their hands too full from the game before. The Spark could definitely put up a fight, but at this point, I can't know when and where that's going to be. I'm just going to play it safe. Shock by 5.
Chicago's been winning and Houston hasn't. They're not overwhelming teams, but Houston, while being (in my opinion) a better group, is on the road and flailing a bit. Chicago has steadily built up a .500 season, thanks in large part to a weak middle of the season schedule and some key wins. I'm going with my gut on this one and going against my instinct. Sky by 3.
Indiana's defense is still a force to be reckoned with, even if their offense has taken a bit of a hit recently. Phoenix, however, has been known to make any team look like they have no one blocking shots. It all depends on who is going to show up - Indiana's offense or Indiana's defense. If the former, then Indiana will lose. If the later, than Phoenix will lose. I have a feeling that the hometown crowd in Phoenix is going to help out and Indiana will continue their slide. Phoenix
The Lynx? At Sacramento?
Monarchs by 7.
Who will come out on top? Both teams have a very balanced roster, but the Storm rely heavily on Jackson and Bird, while the Stars seem to spread the ball a bit more. If San Antonio is drawn into Seattle's game, it's going to be a quick show. If they can maintain their composure and limit Jackons's effectiveness, it'll be a great game. Personally, I think the Storm are due to kick some Silver Star ass. Storm by 5.
A "top ten plays" of the week video. I usually hate basketball highlight reels, but this has some good ones on it.
A WNBA article about Erin Thorn. My favorite line? "Erin Thorn's rise to prominence has put the Liberty within a striking shot of the playoffs." It should read "Erin Thorn's rise to prominence has KEPT the Liberty within a striking shot of the playoffs." And where's the love for McCarville, huh?
Cheryl Ford's out for the rest of the season. That changes everything in the fight for the East, although Detroit has enough talent to keep it together. Come playoffs, however, it's going to be VERY interesting.
All right. That's it for me for this week, kiddos. The weekend calls, and I'm tired, busted, and damn-near broke. Hope everything is going well with you. I'll hopefully see you guys on Sunday.
See ya, Space Cowboy...