New York vs. Minnesota
Lynx Hunting Licenses to be handed out to the first thousand guests.
So, while our playoff hopes are rapidly diminishing, that doesn't mean that they are lost completely. We have a home game tonight, against the Lynx, and thank God for that, as Minnesota is hands-down the worst team in the league.
Minnesota is in the bottom half of the league in almost every category you can mention: FG%, Opp. FG%, Rebounds, Opp. Points, Difference btw Points For and Against...
Actually, no. Not that easy. Because one of the few categories that they do well in is total points.
While Seimone Augustus is having a tremendous year (averaging 22.9 ppg), Lindsay Harding and Nicole Ohlde are each scoring more than eleven points per game. The Lynx have solid starters, can definitely rebound when they need to, and don't mind spreading their bench. Their problems seem to stem from their absolute lack of defense and the lack of offense found in the reserves.
No reserve averages more than 4.7 points a game, their defensive system is a shambles, and really, when it comes down to it, three players average over three-fifths of their points (with one player averaging almost a third). Without Seimone this team could EASILY be 2-25. But they are coming off a win against Sacramento and their confidence could be at a high. They have nothing to lose, now that they are all but statistically eliminated from the playoffs. That can be a dangerous combination.
We all know about the Liberty's woes, so we won't go into that.
Let it be known that, however, that at one point, the Liberty were 5-0, and then later 10-8. We have the ability to beat and hang with some really good teams, but through a number of errors and parting of paths, been unable to convert close games into wins. Lynx fans are looking out our seven game losing streak as a pot of gold at the end of a shit rainbow.
The Liberty need to play up to their level and make sure that the Lynx know that they mean business. There is no room for error from here on out. We may creep into the playoffs thanks to the ineptitude of Washington and Chicago, but we'll have to win games to do that. We can't back into the post-season...
...and if we want respect from teams, the league, and its fans, there needs to be hell to pay tonight. Dutch? You're on deck. Marvel? Keep playing hard. Muffin? You gotta be the anchor. Thor? Bring the thunder. Marlowe and Beatle? BE the Defense. Bruce? Time to yippee-ki-yay it to a victory. And Saint Patty? Don't just play someone because they had twenty points ten games ago.
KEYS TO A NEW YORK VICTORY
- Contain Augustus. While it would be wrong to say that she is the only talent on the Lynx, she is by far the BEST player they have. Take her out of the game and the Lynx lose almost a third of their points.
- Hit the three. Minnesota is atrocious defending beyond the arc. Take a few long shots and get McCarville underneath for those rebounds.
- Pass. The Lynx have a nasty tendancy to scramble when their opponents begin to open up passing lanes. Force them to move, and a path will open up.
- Rest a starter or two. Don't bench them, but Minnesota is the one team that we play for the rest of the year where we can afford to let our regular corps play for twenty and leave the rest to the high reserves.
- Don't get overconfident. Minnesota has only won two of their last ten, but they have also beaten Phoenix, San Antonio, and Sacramento. They can surprise an opponent who doesn't take them seriously.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Phoenix @ San Antonio
Phoenix is, far and away, the best offensive team in the league (87 ppg, 7 points higher than the next team) while also being the worst defensive team in the league (84 ppg allowed, 2 points higher than the next team). San Antonio, despite being on top in the West, is thoroughly average throughout most of their point spreads. There is a key difference, however. San Antonio doesn't dazzle, but they DO outplay their opponents in almost every category, whereas Phoenix has no choice but to play hard, offensive ball.
Phoenix has won five straight and has three players in the top twelve of scorers for the league. San Antonio has one (although Sophia Young is number 13), but has won seven of their last ten games. Honestly, I feel that San Antonio is the better team, but Phoenix can break any opponent in the league with their bad-ass style. I would definitely TiVO this game if you get the chance. Silver Stars by 4.
Propoganda from League HQ. It's ostensibly about Tan White and how the Indiana Fever doesn't rely on Tamika Catchings... except they've gone into a nosedive since she's left (before beating the Mystics, they hadn't won a game without her since 2002, according to Women's Hoops Blog) and the article is really more about Cheryl Ford and others.
Michelle Voepel has a new article up on ESPN. A little (deserved) jab in the middle about the Libs. "In a slightly related note, how 'bout that quick start out of the gate for the Liberty? Oh, never mind."
The Houston Chronicle is reporting that there are more and more male head coaches in the WNBA, and that's a good thing. While it would be hypocritical of me to say that only women should be head coaches of the WNBA, I would also note that this barely qualifies as news. Men aren't the half of the species that are fighting for recognition. If the NBA ever hires a FEMALE head coach, then I will be surprised.
Essay to come in the late afternoon. I'm out of town from tonight until Monday morning, but I will definitely have a game review up either late night tonight or tomorrow morning. Other than that, I can't make any promises. Have a good un', all o' y'uns.
See ya, Space Cowboy...