The Lib's schedule is out.
There's a lot to talk about, and frankly, there are a lot better people to do it. However, since this is the first BIG thing to happen to the Libs since the end of the season, I feel that it is my duty to do as well as I can for you folks. In-depth analysis isn't this blog's thing, and I'm apt to put in a completely random photo, but I'll do my best.
First, the opener is against Connecticut at home. Connecticut finished strong last year, but faded quickly against the onslaught of the Tamika Catchings-led Fever. They will be a strong test for our first game: no Chicago Sky cakewalks this year.
We face several good teams in the first month of play, with the only two non-playoff teams in that span being Washington (who almost knocked us out of the post-season) and Houston, who, despite injuries, did much better than their record suggests. Thankfully, however, there are an average of two to three days between our biggest games, allowing for rest and rehab if needed. See
The longest road trip of the season is, of course, the West Coast long-haul that's going to put a mighty big strain on the Libs. It's directly in the middle of the season, too, starting off June 28th (a Saturday) against the Monarchs, and going through July 8th (a Tuesday) against Becky Hammon and the Silver Stars. The middle three games - Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix - will not be pretty, and are one-day-on, one-day-off. The Sparks won't be TOO much trouble (although games in the Staples Center are always tough), but Seattle won't go down without a fight. And of course, there's Phoenix...
This trip could work out one of two ways; it could break our backs or kick us into high gear. I really don't see us coming out of that road trip 3-2 or 2-3, and with a home game against Detroit and a road game in Connecticut immediately following, that stretch will definitely define the Libs as a team. Remember last year, when we played six out of seven on the road? We lost the games we should have won and let teams get back into it every time. That led to the season-worst seven-game skid and almost knocked us out of contention for good.
However, if we are able to get out of that road trip 4-1, we'll be in good shape for the rest of the season. The Shock and Sun games won't mean as much, and after that, we have only one solid team to face (the Fever) - with two against Washington, one against Atlanta, and a game at home against the hapless LA Sparks - before the Big Gap(tm).
That's the Olympics. From July 27th to August 28th, the Libs are out of commission. Doron played for Israel while Weber played for the Germans back in October...
...while McCarville and Moore put on the stars and stripes. Depending on who makes it to Beijing, the Libs might not have to worry so much about playing together as a team. Still, a long break is always a big unknown.
I won't guarentee anything here, but I see a good set and record for the Libs this season. While we won't know how well ANY team will be until the season gets underway, Atlanta will definitely make for three easy games. Los Angeles needs a major overhaul and without a trade at the draft, that's not going to happen this year. Minnesota should also be similarly distressed this season, but will be tougher on us with one game on the road between a Mercury and Fever game at home for us.
Even those prognostications make me uncomfortable, however, and the rest of the schedule is just too up in the air. If Washington starts to gel like they did at the end of the season, they could make a big push for the playoffs. As long as Catchings stays healthy, the Fever figure to be in it, and the Shock still seem to be the team to beat. The Sun could be first or last, depending on where their streaks fall this year, and the Sky are a big unknown that could flirt with the fourth playoff spot or languish for one more season in the cellar.
The West, meanwhile, is even more open. Phoenix is coming off of a championship season, but they lost their head coach to the Sonics, and without a singular force directing them past their absolute lack of defense, they could collapse. The Storm also lost their head coach, but from the sounds of the politics going on behind the scenes in Seattle, that might be a GOOD thing. Minnesota and L.A. are pretty much out, but Sacramento still stands a strong chance, and there's no reason to think that Becky Hammon won't rally her troops around her again in San Antonio. Houston, like Chicago, figures to be the variable, with either a strong performance that will still probably conclude without a trip to the Finals OR another season of frustrating potential.
None of this will matter, however, if we can't protect our goods in the Expansion Draft, pick well in the regular draft, and have several of our key components back in top knotch shape. If we hit a rough spot and Patty refuses to move to the back of the bench, we could end up with Atlanta at the bottom of the heap.
However, a good season will be likely IF the following things fall into place...
- Muffin and Thor MUST bring their A game everyday, or at least trading off when one is fantastic and the other nightmare-inspiring.
- Davenport and Jackson MUST prove that they can play in the WNBA for long stretches. This will also depend on Patty's willingness to play them.
- Dutch MUST make strides on improving her defense. She had a good enough shot last year to make up for some of her lapses, but that won't be enough.
- Patty MUST play the bench if the front seven aren't up to snuff. Really, what's the difference if we lose with Christon, Moore, and Kraayeveld on the floor instead of Doron, Jackson, and Weber? Remember when she wasn't playing McCarville? Remember what happened when she put her IN?
It will be a good season, but until we get closer, that's about all the analysis I have in me. And now for something completely different.
Anybody looking for an internship? The Libs are offering one. It's basic office work, but that's what ALL internships are about. Go out there and make me proud. And if you meet Martina Weber, put in a good word for me.
Apparently, Loree Moore is going to be a guest ringmaster at the Circus this weekend. I don't care much for Circuses... circi? circes?... but then again, if you are, by all means, now you have an extra incentive; flat-out pandering!
The League has it's own coverage of the new season, including these top 10 games to watch. Our September 7th game against the Sky is on there, for good reason. It's going to be national on ABC and will almost assuredly have playoff implications. Well-played, WNBA. Well-played.
Lin Dunn, an assistant under Brian Winters, is now the new head coach for the Tamika Catchings Show. Much like the Neutronians, I have no opinion one way or the other.
The Comets are moving to a new arena next year. Specifically, the Reliant Arena, which holds about 5,800 people. Last year, the Comets averaged about 8,000 people at their games. Admittedly, that might be inflated, but even if that the real number is lower by about 20%, the Comets will be losing out on AT LEAST 600 extra paying customers a night. And what happens if the WNBA (or the Comets) get a boost in popularity in the years to come? I can understand that you want to keep it cozy and intimidating, but this might be TOO intimate. I hope the lower cost will be worth it...
That's all I got in me. Until next week?
See ya, Space Cowboy...