So, game-day is here. Finally. And we’re going to C onnecticut to face off against the Sun, one of the hottest teams on the block right now.
The Sun now have four players averaging over 13 points a game, with seven players averaging over five rebounds. They have also upped their point total, averaging around 72 points in the first half, and going over 88 in their last eight. What this translates to was a seven-game win streak that was only broken two days ago with a tough (and close) loss to the Shock.
The Liberty, on the other hand, have only three players with more than 11 points and only four players with over four rebounds (only 1 above five). The Liberty have also been on an amazing skid, losing their last four and going 3-7 in their last ten. On paper, it seems like an overwhelming match-up in Connecticut’s favor.
This isn’t taking into account all of the facts, however. The rest of Connecticut’s squad, is thoroughly mediocre, with most of them role players that can come in and support their top stars; Douglas, Whalen, Sales, and Jones.
They have an amazingly high shooting percentage from the field in their last few games, but their defense is poor and they can’t shoot from beyond the arc. They rely on overpowering and out-running opponents, kind of like a neo-Phoenix Mercury.
The Liberty have been able to handle tough opponents in the past, but are still searching for consistency. We’ll have a game performance from Thorn, Christon, or Kraayeveld, and then McCarville, Battle, and Moore will be absent (and vice versa). This is a team effort, and Patty has been unwilling to bench her individual stars when they aren’t working.
The system that the Liberty play only works when they’re succeeding as a team. This isn’t a group that can rely on one player and have them carry the team (as seen in Kraayeveld’s uber-performance in our loss to the Comets). We need to come together, remember how to play the game as a team, kick some ass, and not let everybody walk all over us.
- Contain the Big Four. Whalen, Douglas, Sales, and Jones are still the key to a Sun victory, with the reserves and other starters puzzle-pieces that can be fit in.
- Take out a part that isn’t working. We all know Patty likes to play her favorites until they’re dead on the side of the road, but if SOMEONE on our team isn’t working, PLEASE don’t let them play for thirty minutes. Stick in a reserve who’ll do the job and at least get experience.
- Play solid D. The Sun have averaged over 88 points a game in their last eight games. Contain them and force them to reconsider their game-plan.
- Hit the basket. Don’t talk about how you used to hit it. Don’t talk about how you WANT to hit. Just hit it. Do it. Get it done.
20 dollars gets you in, with a free buffet and 10 dollars worth of chips.
Phoenix 103, Minnesota 79
Who knew that an offensively-superior team playing against a defensively-inferior team would rack up a near-record amount of points? Who knew that Minnesota, despite being comped about a ten points per-starter, would completely crumble at the sight of Taurasi, Pondexter, and Taylor? Who knew that the Mercury would score 32 points in the last quarter with their scrubs in the game? And who knew over thirteen thousand people would show up for the spectacle?
I’ve been noticing an upward tick in attendances for teams around the league. Some people are calling it surprising, but it doesn’t seem that way to me. Looking over old attendance records, it’s obvious that the first two weeks in the season (when teams have their home-openers) are the high-mark. Then the league dips as a whole before steadily building up over the course of the summer.
As a whole, however, attendance is up for the season. Not a huge amount, and mostly due to Charlotte being out of the league, but it is up about 1.2%. However, this number is dragged down by Chicago. There are no teams averaging over 10K, but only one team averaging below 6… Chicago, at 3.6K a game.
However, these averages are just going to get higher as the season progresses and playoffs near. The West, while not wrapped up, has pretty much chosen its four pretenders to the crown, which will make for some pretty boring matchups, but the East is still wide-open, with the bottom four teams separated by a game and a half. This is where we’re going to find out where the true hotbeds of the WNBA are. If New York, a city of 8 million people, can’t manage ten thousand fans at a game where the season is on the line, what’s that say about us?
Indiana @ Sacramento
Chicago @ Detroit
Indiana gets another crack at a top team from the west as they try to rally and hold off the surge from Detroit. Catchings is still out, but that doesn’t mean that Indiana is hurting for talent, with Whitmore and BLANK playing like Pit Bulls on crack.
Sacramento, meanwhile, has been hurting. It hasn’t regained its early-season form and its defense is starting to crack. Without a strong offensive powerhouse, they could definitely flounder late in the season, especially against an equally-strong defensive team (such as the Fever). Indiana by 6.
Chicago and Detroit. The old rivals. Bears versus Lions. White Sox versus Tigers. Blackhawks versus Red Wings. Okay, so this version of the game hasn’t quite lived up to those old stalwarts, but give it some time. This is the third time they’ve met this season, and the first two ended disastrously for the Sky. Still, Chicago has picked up a bit since then and has a two-game run going on, with wins over Indiana and San Antonio, hardly slouches. Detroit, meanwhile, is due for a loss. Sure, they’re now on a seven-game streak, but have you seen the teams they beat? Washington? Phoenix? New York…
They have against Indiana, too, but of those seven games, only two of those teams have above-.500 records. The Shock are picking off the little guys, as they should, but let’s not go around playing grab-ass over their new championship just yet. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think the Sky can show a little something tonight. Sky by 4.
Essay coming in the afternoon. It’s a short one, so don’t get too excited. Until then…
See ya, Space Cowboy…