Another noon game. I wasn’t a big fan last time, but I shut up when over 10K showed up to watch the Libs trounce the Mystics.
Now, however, comes a major test. I will probably skip over today’s Performance Piece (since no one really likes them that much, anyway) to do an immediate write-up of today’s game. Excited?
While not exactly a pushover, Detroit is not the insurmountable opponent that they once seemed to be. True, they’ve won their last three games, but two of those came against Chicago (by a combined score of 170 to 149), and the other stemmed from a complete defensive breakdown of Phoenix.
Before that, they had lost three straight games (and four out of five), one coming from us (in OT), and the others coming from the Silver Stars, Monarchs, and Mystics. They were all close games, to be sure, but you know what they say about winners…
This is not to say that Detroit isn’t a threat. They are still definitely a top-tier team, capable of flooring any opponent that has the audacity to doubt their power. The Shock have FIVE players averaging more than eleven points a game, are in the top three of teams in points per game, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, rebounds, etc., etc…
They’re a strong defensive team, too, with Cheryl Ford posting over 10 rebounds per game. The team keeps the fouls in check, winds itself up for an opponent’s mistake, and then explodes into a fury of hell-born chaos. All and all, a solid team that might have gotten a little big for their britches, but are not a group to be underestimated.
For New York to win, we’re going to need to step it up to a higher gear. We aren’t facing the Mystics or the Lynx here. We can’t afford to take stupid chances and run around like a bunch of Pittsburghers on the first day of training camp.
In our last win over the Shock, all five top scorers for the Shock scored more than nine points (Ford, Nolan, and Smith scored 22, 21, and 19), but no other player registered a single point.
Hit the three, make the pass, push the defense, spread the game… basic, simple stuff that can overwhelm an opponent time and time again. Do all the little things right, worry about your own job, and leave the rest up to God.
KEYS TO A NEW YORK VICTORY
- Isolate their top performers. Detroit relies on their heavy-hitters to make up for a weaker bench. Play a staunchly conservative game when they’re on the floor and force them to go to their mostly untested bench.
- Don’t take stupid shots. Errant shots WILL lead to a Detroit possession and a strong chance of going down by a few points. Take quality shots and work the lanes.
- Watch the paint. The Shock don’t mind throwing bodies around. They don’t take stupid fouls, but they bend the line. The Libs aren’t delicate by any means, but there’s no reason to get into a battle that we don’t need to win.
The Palace of Auburn Hills
Screw Work; Go Team!
AROUND THE LEAGUE…
Sun 84, Lynx 79
Mercury 89, Storm 79
Silver Stars 63, Sparks 61
That Sun game was a mite bit closer than the hometown fans would’ve liked.
I picked the score pretty closely, however (I was low-off by a point), and this game doesn’t surprise me in the least. The Lynx rely on Augustus, and while she had a great game (24 points), Minnesota couldn’t manage Connecticut’s offense. However, they did have a much better second half (winning it by a point), even if they didn’t overcome the Sun in the end. Oh well. That’s seven straight losses for Minnesota.
The Mercury let up a lot of points and score a lot of points. Who knew? The Storm are still reeling from the loss of Bird and even with a tremendous game from Lauren Jackson (an unearthly 33 points and 11 rebounds) and Betty Lennox (a more human-like 22 points), the Storm couldn’t deal with Phoenix’s firepower.
Penny Taylor scored 32, Taurasi scored 18, and all the Phoenix starters scored over 9 points. They didn’t play much of their bench, but then again, they didn’t really need it. If the Storm could have capitalized on Phoenix’s absolutely horrid defense, they would’ve stolen a win. As it is, they shot poorly from the field (although they did hit over 45% of their 3-pters) and let the Mercury walk all over them.
The Sparks played a hardline-D on San Antonio last night, but it still wasn’t enough. The Silver Stars, along with the Fever, are the hottest team in the league right now and nothing will slow them down. L.A. was admirable – they tied it up with less than a minute left – but when one of your starters (Fernandez) doesn’t score a single point in twenty-four minutes of play? Well, that kinda sinks your ship.
Sky @ Fever
Comets @ Mystics
Ooo! The Sky! Everybody’s darlings! Let’s all jump on the bandwagon and say how good they are! Come on! Everybody join in!
I’ll admit, Chicago isn’t as BAD as I thought they were, and they have some sweet honeys on their team. However, hotties and sweetness do not a good team make, and the Fever are itching to get back to their pre-All-Star pattern.
Fever by 9.
The Mystics have been playing some strong ball recently (five wins in their last seven games), which is about twenty steps above their normal game, even if most of those wins came against some… questionable opponents (they did beat the Shock in that period, however). The Comets have played decent ball as well (6-4 in their last ten), ever since they broke their obscene 10-game skid, that is. Their losses came against quality opponents (with two against Phoenix, who they can’t seem to figure out). They beat Washington by 10 points in their last match-up, but it’s been almost a month since then. All in all, this is going to be my game of the day, but I think that the Mystics have more to prove and more pressure on them than the Comets. Mystics by 5.
The WNBA'S power rankings are up. The Libs drop down to number 7 (from 6), exactly in the middle, but for what reason? They lost to Indiana? After winning against Sacramento and in Detroit? What's it going to take, huh?
A nice piecefrom ESPN on Indiana's Tully Bevilaqua. She doesn't post a lot of points, but she's the kind of scrapper that every team needs. Plus, she's got great Australian slang.
Business Weekly finally wrote a story on the WNBA's contract with ESPN/ABC. Considering that I broke the story before them and that they got the main point of the deal wrong (the WNBA IS getting Rights Fees), I am feeling pretty high and mighty.
This piece kinda derides the WNBA for some faulty media manipulation. Ouch.
All right. That's it. If you guys out there overwhelmingly want me to write a Performance Piece, email me or post and I'll put it up tomorrow (or Friday, to take the place of the Week-That-Wasn't in Review). Otherwise, it's a game wrap-up only.
See ya, Space Cowboy...