Phoenix 97, New York 86
It started off not all that bad for the Liberty. Sure, at the end of the first ten minutes, we were down by 3 (26-23) and our defense was looking a little shabby, but the game was still close, Phoenix is known to make the BEST defense's look bad, and there was still a lot of ball to be played. The game was really back and forth, and while Christon didn't come alive until the later parts of the quarter, the entire team was chipping in at the beginning. Unfortunately, it all slid downhill from there.
Davenport fouls Schumacher twelve seconds into the 2nd, setting up an easy point out of two for Phoenix (Schumacher's free-throw skills... eh). The Mercury score twice more to go up by 10, before finally, almost three minutes in, McCarville lands a lay-up and the game resumes. Phoenix controls the ball for almost the entire quarter, with the Libs shooting bad shot after bad shot (10 misses, 6-16 overall, including multiple missed foul shots), while turning the ball over at several horrible moments (seven points from turnovers, not to mention the rebounds).
At halftime, the score is 44-35. There is still hope for a comeback, but the Liberty aren't exuding any kind of confidence. Desperation has settled in, as evidenced by them trying to force plays into situations that just resulted in Phoenix grabbing the ball and shoving it back down our throats. Thorn just isn't coming up in big situations, and while McCarville and Christon are doing their part, very few others are stepping up.
The 3rd quarter starts off in the same old fashion, as Tangela smith makes three straight baskets, interrupted by a McCarville lay-up, to make it 51-37. The Mercs don't back down, and while the Liberty begin to surge late in the quarter, it's too little too late. Kraayeveld, who has been quietly racking up points, scores her 11th, but Thorn continues her struggles. Ten minutes pass and its 71-58 Mercury.
Thor, Marvel, and the Beatle take the game into their own hands for the Libs. The 4th sees only one other Lib score a basket (a lone free-throw from Moore), while Phoenix continues their onslaught. The closest that New York gets is six points with a minute left in the quarter, but then Pondexter, pissed from her performance in the last New York-Phoenix game, shuts the door with six straight points. The game ends, the Mercs high-five, and that's that.
Overall, the officiating wasn't awful on the court, but it wasn't spectacular either. The Mercs played hard and got away with a lot, while the Libs backed down and allowed themselves to be dominated for large stretches at a time. Add to this that they couldn't make key free throws at desperate points and it just allowed Phoenix to play the game their way without much interference.
As for the players, inconsistency once again proved deadly. Battle, McCarville, and Christon had the best games out on the court, while Kraayeveld also had a decent game, although she still was wobbily on defense. Thorn? On the court for over thirty minutes, but with only four points, while going 1-10 from the field with only 2 assists and rebounds. Patty played her regulars again, with only six players averaging over nine minutes of game time, and only one other player (Tiffany Jackson) receiving anything other than pity time.
Let's not just gang up on Patty... or Thorn, or anyone else for that matter. There's a lot of blame to go around this time. We can hem and haw until we're blue in the face, then argue about who's fault this is, and find a little bit of shit-pie to put on everyone's place, but there is only one, true conclusion. The Mercs outplayed us, and that pretty much sums it up.
- With Washington's win and our loss, that drops their magic number from 5 to 3. There is not much wiggle-room left for us.
- The Libs shot 30-70 from the field (almost 43%). Take out Marvel, Thor, and the Beatle and we were 9-36.
- Martina and Bowen weren't dressed, while Doron didn't get any playing time.
- Almost all stats are comparable to each team. Assists, turnovers, steals, blocks, etc. Except for Shots. And points from turnovers. Which were both WAY in Phoenix's favor.
4 P.M., MSG
Be There, At the Square
Washington 80, New York 68
New York 77, Houston 71
Phoenix 97, New York 86
This has been an interesting week, to say the least. Loss to Washington, beat Houston, then a beating from Phoenix. We're down by two games against the Mystics and a half a game above last place. It's not a good time to be a Lib fan.
Janel McCarville led the Libs with 57 points in three games, while Christon finally began to awake from her long slumber. Patty finally played Davenport a bit after someone moved the Gatorade cooler and revealed the Middle-Man still on the bench. Loree Moore had a couple of strong games (and a couple of big mistakes) and the rest of the Libs were all over the map. We're still searching for consistency, and we may not find it until the end of the season.
The Washington game was particularly bad. Bad coaching, bad playing, inconsistent offense... it was a true terror to behold. Had we taken that game (or at least shown up), we would be in a much better position than we are right now. We did manage to take the game from Houston, and while we lost to Phoenix, I was sadly expecting to lose to one of the hottest teams in the WNBA. However, this team is not playing like a team hungry for the post-season. While I have not give up all hope (not by a longshot), I am beginning to despair.
Sunday marks the last week in the regular season, and minus our 5-0 start for the year, we are 7-17, which is truly abysmal. Our team is definitely young. VERY young. A few players (Thorn, Willis, Farris) have been around for several years, but the majority of our team are players that have played in three campaigns or less. We're still gaining experience, and in a year or two (with good drafts, trading, and maybe ONE more solid player) we'll be a monster. Just you wait. I would be willing to chalk up this year as a learning experience if we can somehow come out on top for a long time to come.
In terms of this blog, I have radically shifted the site from something that was definitely humor and picture heavy to something drier and more sports-centric. I like the look of it now, and I still post some pictures, but this may change coming up, although how much change there will be is questionable. With five games left in the regular season, there isn't a huge amount that I would want to shift before the end of regular play.
Of course, two days after I discontinue hotlinking (today), I get an email from someone pissed off about one of my older posts (about a month or so old) that isn't on the front page anymore. I removed the picture, but it's definitely some bad karma that as soon as I decide to change, someone tries to bite me in the ass for sins of the past.
Anyway, this week has been all over the place. This weekend is going to be crazy, too, what with all of the games and all of the importance placed on Washington's next two outings. I will be in the South (Virginia, first, then North Carolina) starting Thursday night, so my posts will be a bit smaller than usual, depending on if I can get time and an internet connection at all. If I can't, I will try to have a friend fill in for me. No promises as to the caliber of their stuff. Not everyone can have stellar writing skills, a knack for seeing between the lines, and razor-sharp wit like me.
Detroit 97, Seattle 70
San Antonio 72, Sacramento 61
Washington 80, Los Angeles 75
I was pretty much of on these games for everything except Washington. I'm not going to go into too much detail because I haven't had the time to look over them, but it's quite obvious that Seattle is content to lose their way into the post-season (27 point loss to the Shock? They're good, but not THAT good). San Antonio obviously still has a lot of spunk left in 'em, and the Sparks are garbage. That's about it, really. Check the WNBA's official site for more info.
Sacramento @ Houston
This will be the second game in two days for Sacramento, not to mention the flight. Houston, meanwhile, has had several days rest and still has a glimmer of a playoff hope. Sacramento is still the obvious choice to pull this off; they are a much more well-rounded team. I would like Houston to pull it off, but I don't think that they are going to have the gas in the tank to push them over the edge. Monarchs by 7.
Indiana @ Detroit
Houston @ San Antonio
Connecticut @ Chicago
Los Angeles @ Phoenix
Washington @ Seattle
This would have been a much more interesting game had Tamika Catchings not left the Fever in a tailspin and Detroit, despite losing Cheryl Ford, begun to look like a team made up of Hero-Gods from the days of yore. A win for Detroit will secure them the top spot (and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs). An Indiana win? It still means that they'll have to win three more games and pray that Detroit loses their last FIVE. Detroit is so much hotter right now, and Indiana so much colder, that the choice is easy. Shock by 7.
Houston, once rising and breathing down Seattle's neck, has begun to fall back into their early season form. Rookies are taking stupid chances, Tina Thompsons's drama is dragging down the fans, and the schedule? Well, it's not the kindest one in the league. The Silver Stars have surprised many people this year, and with Hammon back, there is no reason to think that they shouldn't be able to take care of their cross-state rivals. I like Houston, but I don't think they can take this game. Bye-bye, playoffs. Silver Stars by 9.
The Sun and Sky? One last joke before the end of the season? No? Fine then. Connecticut is tearing up the court and Chicago has faded from semi-decent to semi-awful. They've lost four straight and are two and a half back from Washington, a game out of pocket, and thus all but statistically eliminated from the post season. If Chicago loses this game and Washington wins one more, they're out of the playoffs. Period. Connecticut, meanwhile, still has a shot at 2nd place, with a game in hand against the Fever and down by 2.5 with five games left to play. That would be a MAJOR benefit to them, and with the way they are playing behind Douglas, I don't see any reason why they shouldn't take this game. Sun by 9.
Los Angeles? The losers of 14 of their last 16 games? Against Phoenix? The highest scoring team in the league? Mercury by 10.
Seattle is trying their hardest to keep Houston in the playoff race, and with their game against the surging Mystics, I think they're going to instill even more false hope while backing into the playoffs. I don't like how Seattle's playing - on a team as talented as they are, they continue to lose close games and squander chances while giving up WAY too many turnovers - while Washington has finally coalesced. Look for Alana Beard to have a good night and for Bird, Lennox, and Jackson to try and lift the rest of the dead-weight around them. Mystics by 5.
Washington @ Sacramento
Minnesota @ Los Angeles
With Sunday's game in Sacramento, Washington will have played three games in four days, all on the road, and all on the West Coast. Sacramento, meanwhile, will be coming off a day's rest and looking to try and either gain on Phoenix or solidify their second-place spot. Washington will have a great deal on the line (if they win on Saturday, there magic number will be 2) and with a win (and a New York loss), they will have clinched a play-off spot. Sacramento is damn-near impossible to beat at home, however, and Washington's energy has been awful at the end of road trips, bunched together or otherwise. Monarchs by 8.
The Battle of the Cellar Dwellars will take place in Los Angeles on Sunday. Minnesota seems to have given up on this season; they're still playing, but their starters just seem to be going through the motion. Honestly, a high draft pick would be a much better option than one or two more wins, especially on the road. Los Angeles is also done, and has been for almost half a month now. They can't get anything going and the stench from the Staples Center can be smelled from as far away as Berdoo. With Augustus, I feel that the Lynx are a better team than the Sparks at this point, but overall, and at home, I think Los Angeles can still throw a bit around. Sparks by 4.
ABC is going to have an insider's view for the upcoming Indiana-Detroit game, via half-time locker room views. Voyeurs, eat your hearts out.
Katie Douglas's husband was apparently ejected from the Suns' game against the Monarchs. Read up for the details (which are few and sketchy). Douglas was happy that her man stepped it up, apparently. Too bad the Sun couldn't get anything from it (they lost by 2).
That's it for me. I'm going to try to put up a Detroit game preview later in the afternoon. My home computer is fried, you see, so I'm not going to be able to update this weekend. I'll see you guys on Monday, when I post my game review. Until then?
See ya, Space Cowboy...