A New York Liberty Blog

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lynx Strike Back - Libs lose

Can't seem to get too far above .500, can we?


Just in case anybody got too excited after that 100-point showing on Sunday came this little surprise and a half, with Minnesota thoroughly dominating the visiting Liberty in every quarter save the 2nd. And even then, the Libs came up short.

Had to do it.

It started off rotten with the Lynx going big 28-14 in the first 10. Seimone Augustus (who would finish 8-14, 21 pts, 9 asst.) led the Lynx in a big way, coming up with nine points and three assists in that span, with Nicole Ohlde (7-8, 14 pt) scoring 6 of her own. The Libs, meanwhile, finished off the last four minutes and a half minutes of the third without any points in the field, while turning the ball over with bad passes and poor shooting throughout.

Ashley Battle wouldn't go down without a fight, however. She scored eight points in the 2nd quarter, finishing off with a jump shot to push the Libs to within 8, 45-37. Had it not been for her, however, things would have been a LOT worse. Sure, Shameka Christon had another great night (20 points, 6-10, 5-7 from the line), but she also fouled out. To be fair, the game was over at that point, but still.


Essence Carson also has a lot to answer for. 0-6 from the field. 3 turnovers. 5 fouls. I expect better, especially with 18 minutes of playing time. Would Coyle play her other guards, though? Nope, not even with Leilani Mitchell scoring 5 in 8 minutes of play (albeit with two horrendously bad passes), or with Lisa Willis coming off of a hot game. True, this wasn't like the depths of Coyle's tunnel vision from last season, but neither would she remove a floundering starter, like McCarville (4 points, but 7 rebounds), until it was too late.

The third quarter showed more of the same, with Battle and Moore playing the "Which One of Us is the Only Lib on the Court" Game, mixed in with the sounds of airballs sailing through the Minnesota night. Even still, with 10 minutes left to play, the Libs were only down 65-56, being tough but not overwhelmingly insurmountable.

Of course, I would like to say that the Libs never let up. I would like to say that the starters hoisted the team on their shoulders after a horrific first thirty minutes. And I would like to say that Martina Weber called me up the other night and told me that her absence from the WNBA is due to her being unable to think about anything but me.

But that would all be a lie.

And so, the Liberty stumbled out and found themselves lacking. The Lynx put 26 points on the board and nailed the coffin shut, the Liberty whistling dixie all the way. They turned the ball over five more times while Battle clawed her way to 17 points amidst a sea of crap. Props to the few Libs who showed up and kept playing until the final whistle. A big hunk of poop to those who decided that this Tuesday should have been a national holiday.


  • 50% from beyond the arc for the Libs. But only 37.3 from the field overall.
  • 19 turnovers for the Libs. That considerably helped put the Lynx set the table.
  • Of course, the Lynx also passed the ball around a lot, too (24 assists), finding the chinks in the Liberty's armor like they had a metal detector.
  • Three starters for the Lynx scored over 12 points. Only one Lib starter scored more than 7.

Ugh, that game puts a sour taste in my mouth. Next tilt?

Indiana Fever @ New York Liberty
8 P.M.
Special Food Item for the night: $2 Beans
Musical Review to Follow

I have a comedy show the next night, so I will probably be rehearsing, but the rest of you should be out there. We need to shore up those numbers something bad. I guess cutting off all those $10 seats didn't really help much, huh?



...to come later in the day. I'm tired.

See ya, Space Cowboy...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bam! - Libs Win Big

Kick it up a notch!


I wonder what was going through the minds of the Libs as they downed the Mercury in the most lopsided win in their history? After the 1st quarter, when they were leading 28-15, did Coach Coyle think her ladies were just on a roll? Did, after the first half (when they held the Mercs to just 30 points), anybody think that the other shoe was going to drop? And what about when the 4th quarter started and the ladies were within 100 points; did anybody realize what was about to happen?

For that matter, what was going on the minds of the Mercury? Did Taurasi, who scored 21 points (FG 7-14, 3pt 3-7, FT 4-5), get pissed that her team seemed to give up? Did Pondexter, who managed 16 points despite brick after brick, feel like she could have done more? Did Coach Corey Gaines think that perhaps the defenseless game plan that the Mercs have been pushing for so many years has finally fallen to pieces? Did anybody on Phoenix’s side of the court worry that perhaps this was a signal for what the rest of the season was going to be like, that the heady days after their championship seemed like a distant memory as a then -.500 team scored over a hundred points against the once-proud masters of the West?

Made humble by the throngs of Liberty?

I don’t know. What matters most, in the end, is that the Timeless Torches kicked ass once again. I think we can all agree on that.

In all seriousness, the Libs had a great game. That, coupled with a complete absence of any defense after the 1st quarter on the part of the Mercs, led to a dominance not seen by any Liberty team. Ever. The 105 points are a team record, and the shooting percentages (54.3 from the field, 50% from the 3) show why.

Also of note: the Libs never lost the lead after gaining it halfway through the 1st following a 11-3 run. Coyle played all of the ladies and everybody contributed, starting from the 2nd quarter out. By the end of the game, the entire starting corps remained on the bench, leaving the back six to complete the triple-digit score. It was cool to see, especially with the young girls showing their stuff. Compliments for everyone? Why not? I'm in a good mood.

Christon: Strong game on defense, though still a bit too prickly.
Carson: Growing well in the starters position.
Kraayeveld: Strong first half, though her defense improved significantly in the 3rd quarter.
McCarville: All around good game.
Moore: Playing without a missed beat.
Willis: Solid shots when we needed 'em.
Jackson: 21 points led the team? 8-8 from the field? Seems to will the ball where she wants it to go.
Battle: Another complete game, with every aspect of her stat sheet showing strength.
Larkins: An airball foul shot couldn't keep her spirits down and she finished off the game quite well.
Mitchell: The firestarter was held to only three points, but her passing and play-calling is getting better and better.
Thorn: 1 3-pointer, but one that came at a good time.

I could rail and rail against the Mercs, but I think the humiliation of their loss is enough. One last thing...

Haw haw!

Very well. I am satisfied.


  • No Lib who made it on the court scored less than 3 points.
  • Kraayeveld, McCarville, Jackson, Willis, Moore, and Battle all had more than 10 points.
  • The Liberty outrebounded (56-47) the Mercs by a strong margin.
  • Phoenix shot only 32% from the field and 21% from beyond the arc (although they did make over 90% of their foul shots).
  • Lisa Willis had the best all around game, going perfect (4-4) from the line, sinking 2 3-pointers, making 4 rebounds (2-2), and playing a generally strong defensive game in her 15 minutes of court time.
  • Kraayeveld came out strong with 3 straight 3's, but faded down the stretch. Her defense was better by the end of the game, however.

Sorry about the lack of posts last week. Internet was shoddy. Even now, I'm not running on a full tank of gas. I'll be more regular with my updates. Promise.


Detroit 97, Atlanta 76
Sacramento 82, Chicago 70
Los Angeles 77, Indiana 63

Atlanta is still winless, with 13 marks in the L column, tying a record. Anybody still think its a good idea to expand to 16 teams? No? I thought so.

Chicago is also having its fair-share of problems, with a 3-8 record and another loss to the up-and-down Monarchs. The Sky still can't seem to get it together, stringing together long periods of competence followed by minutes of pure ineptitude. Sacramento needed the win more, however, and are now tied with the formerly invincible Lynx.

Los Angeles, having discovered their team game doesn't need to rely on Parker, has jumped to number 1 in the conference with their win over Indiana. The Fever have lost two straight and aren't looking particularly cohesive at the moment. Still, they're in 4th place. As long as Washington doesn't string together any wins... what? The Mystics have won 3 straight?

I have been gone a long time.

No games today.

Monday Blues...

George Carlin died. That doesn't have anything to do with the WNBA, but I felt that I needed to share it.

Parker got the WNBA's second dunk. Frankly, I'm not a huge proponent of the whole "get women to dunk" thing. First, it's an act of machismo that doesn't do much except show off one's own talent. Secondly, unless all the players start dunking, its just going to give neanderthals more reason to point and laugh at the league.

Only two women dunk? Bah ha! What joke!

Especially when a person's first experience isn't exactly a GOOD one, the league needs to prove that it can survive on its own merits rather than those of another league.

But that's enough for me today. Until next time?

See ya, Space Cowboy...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Liberty Win - Barely

Ugly Win. Still, a Win. Still... Ugly.


Wow. What a horrible, horrible win. I can't remember the last time I felt this bad about a "W". Maybe it was the time I forgot which letter came after "V" in Kindergarten and was forced to write "Whale" and "Watch" and such over and over again. But that is beside the point. The point is, the Liberty should NOT be happy with themselves regarding this game.

Yes, four of the Liberty's starters had 12+ point games (led by Janel McCarville's 25). Yes, the Libs managed to score 32 points in the 4th quarter, while overcoming a deficit that they put themselves into in the first half (and third quarter). Yes, we managed to shoot well (over 47% in the field) and pass the ball and all that.

But the Libs did let the now 0-8 Atlanta Dream into the game in the first quarter, going down 19-16. To be fair, it WAS back and forth ball through those first ten, with two clutch free throws by Lennox at the end of the quarter to put the Dream firmly ahead. Still, the Libs didn't control the lanes, didn't control the outside, and didn't control the ball (except for the very beginning of the game, with three straight shots and three rebounds).

The 2nd and 3rd quarter proved to be little better, with the Libs pulling to within 1 point at the half and then falling back by six at the end of the 3rd. It didn't look bad at first, with Christon making 4 points (all free throws) and an assist on a Kraayeveld layup. Of course, immediately after that, both Thor and Dutch made fouls, starting the march of mediocrity. 4 Libs turnovers in one minute (8:23-7:23 of the 2nd)? 3 minutes without a quality shot? A whole quarter DOMINATED by the Dream? Things didn't look good for the MSG Faithful.

Then, somehow, the Libs realized what was going on. They saw that with 10 minutes left to play, they were down to the worst team in the league. Maybe Coyle put some fire in their gut. Maybe McCarville, Kraayeveld, Carson, and Christon decided enough was enough. Maybe Thorn finally realized that she had the ability to do more than get water for the other girls on the bench. Who knows?

In any case, the Libs came back with 32 points in the 4th. The Libs missed only 6 non-free throw shots the entire quarter, with McCarville owning the lane like she put a down-payment on it. The other ladies stepped it up as well, with clutch defense coming from Carson and Christon. The Dream didn't slack off, either: they scored 22 points (the most of any quarter that game). But it seemed like all of the sudden, Atlanta just gave up. And the Liberyt were smart enough to take advantage.

It should have been Atlanta's game. The Dream edged the Libs in free throws, shot percentage, and work outside the arc. Their defense was superior. They passed strongly, as well. But in the end, it wasn't enough. Basketball is a 4 quarter game. If you'll permit me a golf metaphor, you can make three ugly shots and one beautiful shot and still make par. That's the game in a nutshell; the Libs got it done and are now a half game above Chicago for 4th place in the East.

Don't get too cozy, now.


  • Thorn. For the first time in what seems like forever, Thorn made 10 points. Still, she shot only 2-11 from the 3. She has a lot of work to do.
  • Rebounds. New York, led by 8 from Christon, dominated under the basket play. This was the major contribution that allowed New York to win... aside from removing the kryptonite from around their necks in the 4th.
  • Refereeing. Suspect. That's all that needs to be said.
  • Starters. All except Mitchell played well. Christon had the most complete game, with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and going 9-10 from the line, but McCarville's numbers can't be ignored either.
  • Kraayeveld. Tolerably decent on D for the first time this season. Maybe this is a sign of things to come.

Next Game?

Minnesota Lynx
Saturday, 7:30
The World's Most Famous Arena (besides the Coliseum)

The Lynx aren't going to put up with the Liberty's bullshit. They're more cougars than lynces. Be prepared.


Sacramento 79, Washington 76
San Antonio 64, Indiana 53
Seattle 83, Phoenix 77
Los Angeles 80, Detroit 73

I'm surprised that Washington was able to keep the game so close. Props to the Mystics, but more so to the Monarchs for not capitulating when the game wasn't going their way. Strong work from the usually quiet Monarch Offense made up for their increasingly-gaping holes on defense. Boucek better work quick on getting something going.

The Stars-Fever tilt proved to be a low-scoring game, of which type San Antonio is growing in its mastery. The Fever at times seemed to be playing a completely different game than the Stars, what with the infrequent but ill-timed fouls that prevented any momentum from occuring. Meanwhile, Sophia Young made up for the seemingly-absent Becky Hammon (2 pts, 1-7) by scoring 17 and leading the Stars to a decent, if not overwhelming victory. Limiting your opponent to 20 points in 20 minutes is a good way to win a game, huh?

Despite what the official site says, the Storm held on to their 2nd place standing in the West with their victory over Phoenix. Diana Taurasi did her best - 37 points and a hell of a defensive game - but the Storm pulled a 2007 Liberty game by playing essentially no one but their starters, while the leading four scored more than 11 each. Lauren Jackson led her teammates with 20 points, but the really astonishing reason for the victory was the rebounds; the Storm had 64(!) of them to the Mercs' 36.

Los Angeles is proving me right and wrong. Sure, Parker is playing good but not god-like basketball (I called it). But the other Sparks are picking up where their supposed deity of a teammate is leaving off (something I didn't think would happen). All five starters went into double-digits while pushing Detroit just a little further back in the standings. Good for us, bad for the Shock, especially when Katie Smith (16 pts., 7 rebounds, 6-14) is pulling out all the stops to try and lift her teammates out of their slumber.

Keep snoozin', Shock. Please.

Sacramento @ Minnesota

Sacramento is traveling out to the depths of Minneapolis to face off against the 6-2 Lynx, and it's not going to be a good show for them. Sure, just last night the Monarchs were able to take down the Mystics in a game not to their suiting. But that was a close game against a team that is now hovering on the edge of forever. This is the Lynx, who are eager to improve their record and resecure their spot atop the Western Conference. If I were Coach Boucek, I'd hand out helmets before her lassies went out onto the court. Lynx by 9.

A writer in Minnesota laments the poor attendance of the WNBA. Can't say that I blame him, although I don't agree with some of his conclusions. Interesting read, at least.

Bill Laimbeer and Michael Cooper are still rivals, apparently. I don't really care. Maybe YOU do.

Until tomorrow?

See ya, Space Cowboy...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gameday - New York and Atlanta

No, I won't make the expected "Nightmare" joke... but only because I have willpower.

New York Liberty @ Atlanta Dream

Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way. The Atlanta Dream are 0-7. They are at or near the bottom of the league in points, opponent points, point differential, field goal percentage, opponent's field goal percentage, free throw percentage, assists, opponent's assists, and assist differential. This doesn't even get into their defense, which is equally abysmal. Everybody knew that the Dream were going to be facing a lot of growing pains this season (as every expansion team not in the NFL does).

There are some bright spots for the team, however. They control steals by their opponents well (MUCH better than Sun or Monarchs), which is one of the Lib's keys to winning. Also, since their first game, the Dream have not failed to produce seventy points an all save one occasion. So, they can score, no matter who the opponent, and have made for tough opponents for the Lynx (85-81) and Mystics (80-74). That might be damning with faint praise, but it's the best I could muster.

Really, our gals shouldn't have a problem with the Dream. But these are the Libs, after all, and if any team (besides the Mystics) can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, its the Belles.

We'll need help from this fella.

So, what are the Libs to do? Rebounds. The Liberty have failed to make a great impression all year, but they are positively Herculean when compared to the Dream. If the gals can control the ball, put it in the air, and be there if it drops, then we can cycle endlessly until whoever has decided to show up tonight awakens. Or we could rest some of the usual starters and see how the younger crowd takes it into the second half. They'll be desperate for action and Atlanta is really the only opponent at this point where they might see some extended playtime.

I'm not going to go into the usual offense-defense-pass-the-ball garbage, because everybody knows it. What I will say is that the Liberty absolutely CANNOT allow themselves to get behind in this game. The Dream need a win, and they are at home. I'm sure the front office is pushing them to do SOMETHING for the crowd. If Atlanta jumps ahead and grabs the lead, they'll hold onto it like a bulldog in a pit. If there's one thing that a rock-bottom team knows, its desperation. With nowhere to go but up, they'll throw everything they have at the Libs and hope it'll stick. Don't be afraid. Just be cautious.

Keys to the Game

  • Betty Lennox. She leads the Dream with 18.6 ppg (the next highest total is Ericka DeSouza with 11), but those mostly come from beyond the arc. She's only .390 in the field overall. Control the outside, Libs. Control it. CONTROL IT! That goes double for you, Dutch.
  • Pass the ball. The Dream aren't good at rebounds and they aren't good blocking shots, but they are... decent at one-on-one battles. Force them to move and they'll crumble.
  • Middlegame. It seems like every 2nd and 3rd quarter, the Libs shut off the "Win" gear in their brains. That'll be the point when the Dream jump into the game. If Atlanta can ratchet up their game before the Libs realize what has happened, the Libs will have to battle back before their usual wakeup time in the 4th.


Connecticut 75, Minnesota 66

All Connecticut needed was four players. And when your ladies - Jones (20), Turner (18), Whitmore (14), and Whalen (14) - manage that kind of output, that's all you need. To be fair, their bench came in and did a bang-up job controlling the hitherto unflinching Lynx offense (though Candice Wiggins did manage 22 points for Minnesota). The Sun also outrebounded the Lynx by a large margin, while shooting pver 40% from the field and 90% from the line (compared to Minnesota's 33% and 65%, respectively).

Sacramento @ Washington
Indiana @ San Antonio
Phoenix @ Seattle
Detroit @ Los Angeles

Washington, after starting the season 2-2, has dropped to sixth in the conference with four straight losses. They are playing tonight at home against the Monarchs, and they're going to need the win. The Monarchs, despite winning two of their last three (loss to Detroit, wins against Houston and the Libs), are paper tigers. They're fourth in the conference, but have to establish some kind of momentum. Their defense is a hodge-podge, their offense is limited, and no one is stepping up to lead the team. I'd hesitate to pick them, but Washington hasn't scored more than 70 points 5 times this season (3 at 60 or less). If you can't put points on the board, you can't win games. Monarchs by 6.

Both Indiana and San Antonio are flailing a bit. Sure, the Stars are in much deeper trouble; despite the play of Young and Hammon, they are routinely outhustled on a regular basis. But Indiana, despite its wins, still feels incohesive. It'll be a test for them tonight to see if they can beat the currently undefeated-at-home Silver Stars. San Antonio needs this win a lot more - they travel to Indiana on Sunday and could wind up 3-6 if they can't manage a split. I'll back the Stars by 4 for now, but this is anyone's game.

So, Phoenix has won two games and now suddenly everybody thinks that they can take on the Storm? Yeah, the Storm slipped a bit recently, but they are still killer at the Key (5-0) and you know the Mercs aren't going to try to contain Cash, Bird, or Swoops, let alone Jackson. The Storm are the more disciplined team by far, and that goes a long way. Storm by 6.

Tonight will be only the second time that the Sparks have played at home this season (the first being a loss to the Phoenix last Friday). Being such, there isn't a big enough of a sample to understand the home court advantage. Detroit is no slouch, but is considerably more vulnerable while on the road. The course of the game will be determined, once again, by how well Parker plays. If she manhandles the Shock's defense, expect a win for the Sparks. I think that Detroit is too disciplined to let that happen, however. Shock by 7.

I added a couple links to the site, as you might be able to tell. First up is Pleasant Dreams, an Atlanta Dreams blog. The blogger is still in the wild-eyed days of youthful blogging - multiple posts a day, in-depth analysis, happiness with life.

That will change.

The second is DC BasketCases, a Mystics blog that's been around for a while. They've got good coverage and a regular posting schedule, so (unlike me) you can trust them to have your team's fix on a scheduled basis.

You're all like junkies. LIBERTY JUNKIES!!!

Essay to come sometime tomorrow or Friday. Still working on locating the ex-Libs (Weber, Bowen, etc.). If anybody has any leads, please let me know.

See ya, Space Cowboy...

Monday, June 9, 2008

One Step Sideways - A Win and a Loss

New York 81, Houston 73
Sacramento 70, New York 63

Let's get something straight here. New York didn't win the game against Houston. The Comets LOST it. Despite scoring more than 80 points and holding the Comets to long stretches of nothing, they could never completely shut Houston down. Even in the waning minutes, the Comets were still trying to get something done.

That's not to say that the Libs didn't do SOME things right. The Libs shot over 50% from the field (huzzah!) and opened the game up 23-6 before the 4 minute mark. Leilani Mitchell, in her first WNBA start, scored 18 points and poked for seven assists. Shameka Christon continued on her roll with 19 points. Overall, four starters broke the double-digit point barrier, while also limiting everyone on Houston NOT named Tina Thompson to 45 points.

However, Double T DID play, and play she did. Throughout the game, it was as if the Libs couldn't contain her. She was like some sort of animal, breaking loose, busting through, and eating her own feces.

Well, no, not that last part...

In any case, Thompson posted 28 points and 11 rebounds. Michelle Snow also had a decent game (13 pts), but was largely absent on the D. The Comets also did manage to wake up for the traditional "New York Liberty Naptime" Period that extends through the 2nd and 3rd quarters. This included an eleven-point run to end the 1st quarter. But ultimately, they looked disjointed. Spirited, yes, but very, very, very disjointed.


  • New York still looks very inconsistent. Sharp as a whip in the first, flat in the second, decent in the 4th.
  • I'm not sure how to take Coyle's coaching style. She seems to be taking the whole "less is more" approach seriously.
  • I TOLD you Leilani Mitchell is good.

All of that showed in the next game when the Libs barely registered against the flailing Monarchs. Sacramento shut down the Libs so successfully that the top scorer, Lisa Willis, only managed to put 11 points on the board. Tiffany Jackson added another 10, but no one else even bothered to show up for the Belles.

It didn't look that way at first, however. Despite going into a 9-1 hole to start off the game, the Libs battle back, thanks in large part to 6 points by Essence Carson. By the end of the first ten, the Libs had the lead, 19-14.

Everything went downhill after that, however. Carson only managed 2 more points that night, while the Monarchs went ahead at the 4:35 mark 22-21, only to railroad the Liberty the rest of the way. All of this despite giving the Libs five freebie fouls (equaling 10 strong points) at the end of the half to give the Libs a three-point lead.

The third quarter was much more open than it seemed, with the Monarchs seeming to pick up every loose ball and rebound. In one 45-second stretch, Sacramento managed 4 shots - all missed - before McCarville finally managed to get the ball out of their half. This says as much about the Monarch's offense as it does about the Liberty's defense. And this was a team that New York played neck and neck with through the third.

Finally, Sacramento had enough. They rampaged to win the game with 20 points in the 4th. New York hit the showers early, barely showing up with ten despite a home crowd desperate for a third straight win that would put the team up over .500 for the first time in almost a year. The Libs were held without a point between 8:17 and 3:45 of the final quarter, and while the crowds filed out, the Liberty slipped ot 3-4. Oh well.


  • Liberty starters only posted 30 points combined. Tiffany Jackson and Lisa Willis outscored them all while playing with significantly less time.
  • First game all season that the Liberty didn't turnover the ball more than their opponent (12 to 16).
  • Megan Duffy finally played. 5 points in 10 minutes, with a rebound and a 3-pointer. Still, she did foul and turnover the ball twice.
  • Smallest crowd yet, just a hair over 7K. Groan.


No games today.

Connecticut 87, Washington 79
Minnesota 90, San Antonio 78

The league (and women's game in general) is abuzz with the news that Becky Hammon is going to play for Russia in the Olympics. Were I to care about the Summer Olympics beyond track and field, I might have something original to say. Unfortunately, this blogger stole the words out of my mouth. If the States can pillage players at will, so can other countries. And - let's face it - most of the competitions are a joke now that professionals can play. The Olympics are horribly broken, and just because one basketballer...

...one basketballer with (figurative) stones like granite...

...decides that she's been overlooked long enough DOESN'T mean that the world will now come crashing down around us. Voepel over at ESPN has her own opinion on the matter.

All that being said, it takes a lot of chutzpah for Anne Donovan to call Becky Hammon a "traitor". Donovan's got some cred for being the first woman to win a WNBA Championship as coach, but that's a little over the line, especially when Donovan didn't even extend an olive branch to Hammon after spurning the Silver Star's cance to play for her home country.

Okay. Done.

For those who still want more, see here and here.

Until tomorrow?

Anne Donovan's an asshole...

Er. Sorry.

See ya, Space Cowboy...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Two Game Day Posts - Bring on Houston


The Libs are coming off of a good win against the Storm, but let's not break our hands while patting each other on the back. That game was then. Houston is now, and despite the Comets 1-5 record, they're not a horrible team.

Where Houston gets it wrong is defense and teamplay. The Comets are near the bottom in points given up, point differential, field goal percentage differential, and assists. Tina Thompson leads the team with 16 ppg and 9 rpg, but after Matee Ajavon (10.8, 3.5), it drops off pretty fast. Where go Thompson and Ajavon, there go the Comets. Whenever the bench has a good game, its a bonus, not expected. So, to contain the Comets, the Libs are going to have to start with Double T.

Where Houston gets it right is rebounds and energy. Surprisingly, they are often the first to the ball in the offensive zone and play stronger-than-expected D around their own post. That's not to say that it's stellar, just better-than-average. A cynic might say that their exuberance to rebound is off-set by the amount of shots their opponents get off (perhaps), and that their excitement tends to lead to excessive fouling (undoubtedly true), but it also means that the Comets are not a team to let up. They'll be on the Libs from the opening tip-off to the last second, even if the Libs are up by over 20.

This kind of split denotes a sub .500 team that has more breaks go against it than for it, but just remember, a hidden python is deadlier than seen one. These are the kinds of teams that ruin a hot streak, or deny entrance into the playoffs. Last year's Comets started off by losing their first ten games, then played above-average ball the rest of the way. Had they picked up a couple games in those opening ten, they would have actually pushed for a playoff spot. Not won it, mind you, but been more in contention.

With the energy and whiff of the post-season that the Comets got, they've come out this year without a chain around their neck. They're going at it at all corners, and some of the less timid Liberty (Christon, McCarville) might find such hacking to be... uncouth. To put it mildly. If the Comets drag the Libs out of their game, we all know what will happen then. Desperation. Every woman for herself. Piss-poor passing. Random shots. In otherwords, chaos.

The Libs can get away with a lot against a team like Houston, but the Comets aren't pushovers. The best strategy is to play solid ball in the first and then try and open it up in the second, no matter what the score. If we're down, we're going to need the extra push. If we're up, we're going to need to extend the difference. If we're tied, we're going to need to jump over the hump. Panic cannot ensue. Houston thrives on it, and they don't back down.

My forecast for the game is good. Everybody who goes, enjoy yourself. I'll be on the road to Perdition... aka, Pittsburgh.


Sacramento is a whole different can of worms. Currently 2-3 (just like the Libs), the Monarchs have become a shadow of their defensive-trap selves that sported them to the playoffs last year. They've stopped passing as frequently, stopped working inside, and continue to hold onto hope that their D will carry them over their league-worst 69 ppg.

Of course, they CAN shoot it when they want to and get it back if they miss it. Led by Brunson, Lawson, and Powell (attorneys-at-law) - who average over 10 points a night, shoot on average over 44%, and control rebounds like a skee-ball machine - the Monarchs have a tight bench that works for the team and produces regularly.

See my comments above for what I think of the Libs. They're beginning to coalesce, but once again, they need consistency if they want to stay above water. A loss to Houston may put them into a scramble, while a win may make them cocky. Who knows? I can't give much of a game preview until we see how the game turns out tonight.

What I do know is that Sacramento, unlike the Mystics and the Storm, don't mess around with their system. Break it, and their toast. Play into it, and nobody can save you. The Liberty are going to have dig deep and find what took them over Seattle just a few days ago. It'll be rough, but they can handle it.


Minnesota @ Connecticut
Chicago @ Atlanta
Washington @ San Antonio
Detroit @ Sacramento
Phoenix @ Los Angeles

Minnesota is still rolling, but beginning to slow down a bit. Their game against the dream left much to be desired, and if a ramshackle expansion team can rattle the cage of the best team in the West, it doesn't look good for the Lynx when they go into the Mohegan Sun. Connecticut, meanwhile, has leap-frogged Indiana into the number two spot after winning back-to-back games after their only loss so far this season. They look good, and though the Lynx seem to have the right sensibilities to take Connecticut down, I'm going to with my gut and take the Sun by 6.

If Atlanta can beat one team, it's the Sky. Both match up fairly well against each other for their numbers, and the Dream are at home and desperate. The Sky aren't doing well themselves, but at least they have a win. The Dream NEED something, especially to prove to their fanbase that they have at least some talent. I predict desperation, and while the Sky aren't fantastic, they know how to play against desperate teams (see their play against us late last year). Sky by 4.

The Mistakes against the Stars? Sorry, but San Antonio rules their home court while Washington has yet to win a game on the road. If Washington can put themselves on track here, they'll set themselves up well for the coming weeks. But the Stars also need to correct their current positioning, and with Becky Hammon and Sophia Young playing strongly, I don't see why they can't take this game. Stars by 7.

Sacramento is going up against Detroit, and it's going to be a bloodbath. Sacramento can't get points on the board, even though they shoot very well. Detroit, meanwhile, looks almost as strong as they did last year, even if they're missing a few of last year's squad. The Monarchs don't look like a team that can beat the Shock at home. Sorry, ladies, but it's Shock by 8.

Phoenix finally took a game and they're coming up against the Los Angeles (s)Parkers. Unfortunately for the Mercs, Los Angeles has a much stouter defense than Phoenix is thinking, while the Sparks also can play all angles of the court (that is, as long as their starters decide to show up). The Sparks aren't as hot as they were when they started the season, but the Mercs didn't impress me with their only win this year. Sparks by 5.

Only tangentially tied to the WNBA is this link, about a pair of lesbians who were kicked out of a Mariners game because they were making out. The front office argued that they were kicked out NOT because of their sexual orientation, but because they were making out. That seems a bit odd, considering there was a straight couple making out just a few rows in front. Why am I linking this? The article references the Lesbian "Kiss-Out" that happened in 2002 at MSG. I could write an essay on this. In fact... I might. See it next week.

See ya, Space Cowboy...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thursday without Thur

The Penguins went down. Nothing on the Liberty front. Quiet. Real quiet. TOO quiet.


A few readers have sent me emails about my comments on the attractiveness of women. I get about one a month, but there were a handful in the last week, so I thought I’d address them en masse. For the record, I have never disparaged a woman because of her looks on this blog. Rather, people are getting upset about my sexual interest in certain women (i.e. Martina Weber and Lauren Jackson).

I won’t refrain from commenting on MY blog about whom I find attractive. I find nothing wrong with my desires. There’s nothing wrong with sex, a healthy sexual attitude, or sexualizing (to a degree) certain aspects of sports. I would agree with those who emailed me if all I talked about was hotness and body-type. But I don’t. So please stop emailing me about this topic.


Detroit 77, Seattle 67

Like I said, a jet-lagged team on the road against the Beast of the East? Despite their strong effort in the 1st quarter (going up 21-13), the Storm started to stumble. Detroit grabbed the lead and never looked back. Both teams struggled at the 3, but it was Detroit's willingness to push the ball late in the game that kept Seattle on their heels. Lauren Jackson (27 pts, 7 rbnds, 50% from the field) led the Storm, while the homecoming of Swin Cash found her limited to 10 points and 3 defensive rebounds. Katie Smith, however, pushed the game out of reach with her 33 points. For more, check out the official site.

Apparently, a lot more went on in the Lynx-Dream game a few days ago than I had imagined. 70 points in one quarter? That's a league record. Check the link for the whole story.

More heart-warming tales of girls making it in the big league. The focus of this story? Former Badger Jolene Anderson and ex-Lady Vol Shannon Bobbit.

Tomorrow will see two gameday updates (I won't be able to post on the weekend), so be prepared.

See ya, Space Cowboy...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Huzzahs All Around - Libs Win

Seattle brought the Storm, Thor brought the lightning...


How to describe this game in a way that can even possibly do it justice? I can't. I'm a humor blogger, not 70 year-old baseball beat writer. But if you can deal without pictures today (damn you, Blogger) and are ready for some back-and-forth ball, sit back and be amazed at the tale of two giants. One Australian. The other, Asgardian.

And by the time I looked up at the end of the first ten, the score sat 22-6 in favor of the Libs.

Of course, the Belles couldn't hold onto this lead. They are the Belles, remember? And so the Storm came back out onto the court and scored 30 points in the 2nd quarter to the Liberty's 16. Credit? Cash (5 points, 2 rbs in the second 10), Jackson (10 in 10), and Swoops. Sheryl wound up with 15 points and 9 rebounds in the game. The dame's still got it. And the Storm had brought it to within 2, 38-36.

But the Liberty wouldn't be denied. They smelled blood in the water. They knew they could take the Storm. Seattle was looking sloppy - they missed a whole mess load of Free Throws in the opening half - and Coyle knew that if the Belles let up even just a little, Lauren Jackson would lead her Merry Wives of Windsor to another victory in front of the MSG Faithful. And Patty wouldn't allow that.

So, when the 3rd quarter came out, the Liberty (and no one else) knew it to be the beginning of the end. Kraayeveld's lax defense stepped up, making up for mistakes with hustle and heart. Loree Moore played like a woman possessed. And the D, led by a shot-missing but block-making (okay, that doesn't make sense) Essence Carson, limited the Storm to 12 points. The refs weren't making the calls, but the Libs started landing the shots, with Willis and Larkins landing clutch baskets at just the right moments to push the Libs into the 4th, up by six (54-48).

If Seattle thought they were in it, Shameka Christon closed the door. Dominating much of the game with her superb shots and devil-may-care attitude, she started off the quarter with a sick 3 pointer and never looked back. The Libs went on a 14-6 run (during which the Storm only made two baskets and no rebounds) before Coach Agler threw in the towel with the scrubs. The dust had settled. The game was won. The seconds ticked off the board and the Liberty had launched themselves to a game under .500, 77-63. Word.

How did this happen? How could we win with only two players (Christon and McCarville) scoring more than ten points? Against one the West's premier teams? With Patty playing against form and putting everybody out on the court?

Team mentality, that's how.

No one showboated. No one hogged. Everybody worked. Everybody hustled. I didn't notice a single straggler out on the court, and while there were bad plays here and there, they were the exception to the rule. After the Storm reached their zenith in the 2nd quarter, the Libs lowered the gate and never let them back into the game. It was New York's time, and the Belles knew it. Props.


  • Despite the tiny crowd (less than 7K sold and looked like half that in the seats), the crowd was very into it from beginning to end.
  • Leilani Mitchell, despite not putting any points on the board, was a little wrecking ball out there during her 11 minutes of action.
  • Props to Sue Bird for not letting her first half-fiasco from getting her down. She wound up with a decent 10 points and 4 assists.
  • Refereeing? Suspect at times. Not that it was horrendous, but Shameka Christon DEFINITELY had a few choice words with the on-court officials.

Houston is just around the corner. It would not do to win this game and then serve the Comets their first win. Enjoy the day. Back to work tomorrow.


Minnesota 85, Atlanta 81
Los Angeles 81, Chicago 77 (OT)
Houston 75, San Antonio 72
Phoenix 98, Washington 93

Atlanta, much to my (pleasant) surprise, actually managed to make a game out of this one. Both teams started out playing cautious defense, with the Dream going up in the 1st but the Lynx denying them all but 6 in the 2nd. After that point, the flood gates opened up. Atlanta was desperate for a win; you can see it in the play-by-play. EVERYBODY was taking shots; the Dream shot 50% from the field, 42% from the 3, and 90% from the line. The Lynx look pitiful in comparison. But Minnesota got the W because they wouldn't allow themselves to be boxed out. They looked bad at points, but they always stayed one step ahead of the Dream. Like the old joke about two friends beind chased by a grizzly, the Lynx didn't need to be great. They just needed to be better than the other guy.

Los Angeles, with Parker playing an average (for her) game, almost lost it, but managed to pull a win out of their ass with help from Lisa Leslie (18 points, 12 rebounds) and Delisha Milton-Jones (24 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists). The Sky threw everything and the kitchen sink and manged to tie up the game in the 4th with 26 points in the final 10, but it was not to be. Even with a (nearly) sellout crowd in their barn, the Sky just couldn't pull it off. The Sparks made the Sky pay for their fouls by shooting 92% from the line, and that proved to be the clincher, because the Sky ran the court in every other stat... besides points. Parker fans? She scored 12 points. Dupree fans? 22.

Houston finally got the monkey off of its back. They managed to outplay the Stars at home with a near-sellout crowd. That's how you play ball; win at home, make the shots, and steal one from a cross-state rival. 4 Comets scored more than 11 points. Sophia Young and Becky Hammon made it interesting, but they couldn't get the support. The Comets go to 1-5, the Stars fall to 2-3.

Phoenix got a win, too, thanks to Diana Taurasi's 29 points and a completely inept Washington defense. Not that the Mercs' was that much better, mind you, but it managed to contain all but the explosive Alana Beard (33 points) from reaching the net with any regularity. For DC, it was another "almost" game, with their problems outside and inside the lane adding up to another loss. Odd, considering that they owned the Mercs from the 2nd through the 4th. They just couldn't get out of the 28-16 hole they dug themselves in during the 1st. Sigh...

Seattle @ Detroit

I can't believe that after the drubbing that the Storm received last night that they are going to somehow get on a plane, pick up the pieces, and come back to win against the current Eastern leader. Swin Cash's return to Detroit is going to be a mute one, and I guarentee with Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight (Detroit clinches it with a win) that the crowd either won't be there or won't be into it. Shock by 6.

I've got some writing to work on, so no links today. Until tomorrow?

See ya, Space Cowboy...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Gameday - The Emerald City in Flames

Bring it.


Our New York Liberty find themselves in a sad, sad state. Fifth in the conference? Behind the Mystics? Ahead of only the Sky (technically) and the Dream (thank GOD!)? This isn't the 5-0 start that we saw last year, and hope is ebbing fast for the once proud franchise. Ticket sales are down, the team looks discom... discombob... out of sorts, and no one seems to know what to do.

Enter the Storm.

And now Seattle has come to town to push their lucky start. Well, not lucky at all. The Storm are a formidable opponent. Lauren Jackson is averaging over 18 points a game, while her cohort, Sue Bird, is pushing 13. Swin Cash was a fantastic pick-up in the off-season; she is posting her best numbers since her sophomore season while leading the team in shooting (.535) and, behind only Jackson, rebounds (6.5).

Did someone say RPG?

Sheryl Swoops, while no longer the offensive juggernaut that she once was, adds a nice dose of stability and experience to a sometimes-meandering club. Combined with strong coaching from Brian Agler and sense of revival, and its no wonder that Seattle's gals have started off the season 5-1, behind only the undefeated Minnesota Lynx in the West. It's amazing to think that only a little while ago, people were thinking that this team was going to move to Oklahoma City or simply disband.

Top on the list for the priorities of the Libs tonight? Settle down. It's been a few days since our last game (not Sunday, like the Storm) and we need to refocus. It sucks to be playing the hole, but nobody is going to give us wins like last year. We're going to need everybody to step up their game. And that starts with the... starters.

McCarville is injured... or is she? In any case, she continues to play and post numbers, but its obvious SOMETHING is up. Kraayeveld, meanwhile, is second on the team with points, but is shooting less than 36%. Shameka Christon is posting strong numbers, but her defensive lapses are beginning to shame even Dutch. Loree Moore plays when she wants to and at no other point, while Erin Thorn... well, the less said about Muffin, the better.

To get better, the whole team needs to start playing. Numbers are secondary at this point. Those will come with cohesion. Forcing the ball, passing into coverage, and other bald spots on both the O and the D need to be addressed. Patty should have taken the last few days to instill some fundamentals in the girls. If the Libs come out flat like they have in every game (except the W against Washington), no amount of good ball will break them out again.

One weakness that the Belles have to exploit is Seattle's failure beyond the arc. Despite all of their impressive numbers, the Storm shoot a paltry .261 from the 3. Why? Because they don't need to, as four of their players break 6-3 (compared to just 2 for the Libs... er, 1, as Davenport is still out). That height comes in handy for defense and rebounds, but if the Libs can handle the inside (a tall order) and move the ball swiftly (not as much), then they'll force the Storm to come to them, rather than the other way around.

This isn't going to be an easy game, but it won't be impossible. There's a lot to like about the matchup... IF the Liberty play to their potential. Much like last season, the best comes when the Belles play for it. The potential is there; Christon, Kraayeveld, Thorn, Jackson, Moore, Carson, and Willis all have the ability to produce double-digit points. The excuses need to stop. The time is now.


  • Defense. The Liberty rank dead last in the league for rebounds and are third from the bottom in Blocks per game. The Storm rank much, much, much higher in each stat.
  • Turnovers. The Libs are getting better, and continue to lead the league in steals (over 10 a game). They still spot their opponents too many chances, and that's what's costing them.
  • Control. The Storm aren't some offensive powerhouse. They win by controling the lanes, their opponents shots, and the flow of the game. If the Libs don't show more discipline, the Storm will mop the floor.

Look for me and the lady in the stands tonight. Don't know where we will be sitting. Somewhere. Look for the guy whose eyes glaze over whenever Lauren Jackson steps onto the court... mmmmm...


Minnesota @ Atlanta
Los Angeles @ Chicago
San Antonio @ Houston
Washington @ Phoenix

Atlanta is rebounding 31 balls a game... but losing another 43 to their opponents. Is that the key to their miserable season? Hell no. They also suck at point differential (over -17, ten points more than the next worst team), shooting from the field (worst, but closer), and all around defense. Minnesota is leading the league in those first two categories, and a grocery list more. I feel bad for Atlanta. I really do. Especially because this is going to happen at home. But Minnesota couldn't be in better shape. Lynx by 12. And I feel I'm being generous.

Los Angeles relies on Candace Parker, and that dame of a gal is carrying her team to a strong start (3-1 right now). The Sparks need to gel a bit more before I go around shouting their praises like everybody else in this league, but against a team like the Sky - home crowds are a joke, can't catch a break, major defensive lapses - the Sparks shouldn't have to worry. Chicago needs to start playing downtown (both on the court and in the city(. Until they do, they'll always be the bastard love-child of the WNBA. Sparks by 7.

Houston was a point away from breaking their losing streak on Sunday, losing to the Storm in the waning minutes by the tune of 64-63. Much like last year, they're shooting themselves in the foot by losing these close games that'll mean the difference come August. San Antonio hasn't found its footing yet, and Houston MUST like this matchup at home. The key is FG%; the Silver Stars give up the second-worst in the league, while the Comets both defend decently and shoot moderately. If Houston can control the flow around the outside, they'll run the Stars out of town. If they wind up playing San Antonio's game, then it'll be a long night. Houston gets the ups for being at home and needing a win. Comets by 3.

Washington, despite all odds, is now 2-3. I'll give credit where credit is due; they are in 4th place. They are now facing off against the Mercs, who have so far given up the most PPG in the league this year. I have trouble picking DC to win ANYTHING (they even lost their baseball team... twice!), and though my gut is telling me too, my brain is holding me back. The Mystics have the worst point total in the league. The Mercs have the second-highest. If Phoenix can't control DC's anemic offense, then they should start drinking Everclear while looking forward to next year's draft. Mercs by 6.

The W sported 14 sellouts to start off the season, seeing record attendance. This is a bit misleading, as several teams are playing smaller venues than before, or are cutting off sections of their current barns. Of course, the league is still suffering from scheduling problems. Duh.

Quotes from USA Coach Anne Donovan and others about the upcoming prep for the Olympics. Lisa Leslie is still a powerhouse for the team, however, and Donovan is going to need to rely a lot on her, especially with most of the other teams in competition training for months and months ahead of time. Go Shay!

Katie Douglas is once again the East's Player of the Week. Her old time, the Sun, is still atop the Conference, however.

If even Candace Parker, in her return to Chicago, can't get a sellout at the Pavilion, it may be time to shoot the dog that is WNBA in the Windy City.

The Pittsburgh Penguins won last night's game in triple overtime to force Game 6 back in the Burgh. I know that none of you care. Screw it. This is my blog and I'm as happy as a priest at a Cub Scout meeting.

One fun story that has absolutely nothing to do with anything; George Takei (aka Mr. Sulu) is marrying his longtime partner now that California is legalizing gay marriage (or not). His best man? None other than Mister Checkhov... er, Walter Koenig.

Until next time?

See ya, Space Cowboy...

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturn is not Happy - Libs Lose

Yes. My thoughts exactly.

Quick update about the game. I usually don't post on Saturdays, but then again, I've been missing most of my updates, so I figured I should make up for them. With that out of the way, let me be the bearer of bad news...


It all started out as planned. The Libs went up 9-5 in the first three minutes, their defense was forcing Connecticut to make sloppy plays, and the Belles snapped up loose balls. Then, it happened... or rather, it DIDN'T.

That is, the Libs began sitting pretty, and the Sun took advantage. Wave after wave of New York's possesions turned fruitless, while Connecticut slowed the game down, took their time, and pounded our lassies into submission.

Mmmm... submission...

When your team is down 27-15, it takes a herculean effort to dig out of the hole. But with the exception of Essence Carson, who finally showed the stuff that made her our first round draft pick, players STILL couldn't keep themselves grounded.

Sure, Kraayeveld grabbed 9 rebounds and scored 12 points. Sure, Shameka Christon, Janel McCarville, and Erlana Larkins had strong games. Sure, the Libs increased their steals, rebounds, and proficiency at all parts of the court (including a whopping 40 of their points from the paint). But that doesn't matter if you can't hold on when the going gets tough.

Give credit where credit is due. Carson scored 15 points and played a strong game (although she's still adjusting to the professional ranks). Coyle is playing from the bench, to great effect. The team is beginning to click.

And also, the Sun didn't back down. They're a quality team, and when Tamika Whitmore wants to score (as she did last night, for 18 points), they're a force to be reckoned with. Asjha Jones held the line (8 rebounds, 6-12 in the field, 16 points), while Lindsay Whalen, Jamie Carey, and Jolene Anderson all had strong games. Despite the restructuring of Connecticut's pro-ballers, they seem to be clicking more and mroe. They didn't seem as sloppy as the home opener, but then again, neither did the Libs.

:::grudging golf clap:::

So what's the deal, then? How can the Liberty be improving and still falling behind? What is the missing link? Where is the connection? No single answer exists, but might I suggest something...

The ladies still seem to be missing the basics. Blocking long shots? Playing tough? Solid passes? The Liberty seem wishy-washy at this point, uncommitted to the team effort that needs to be essential to their game. Coyle can only coach so much, and frankly, she's looking less and less like the culprit here. If the ladies don't want to play together, then something needs to be done. I don't know what, but then again, I'm not a basketball guru. I just write a blog. Badly.

No more needs to be said on this game. If you want the full recap or play-by-play, you know where to find them. I just want to forget this and focus on Seattle next week. I'll be in the stands, worrying my ass off.

Nobody press this JUST yet, however.

No game notes. Sorry. No time. And I don't want to think about this game anymore than I already have. 


Monarchs 73, Comets 66
Storm 78, Silver Stars 57
Sparks 70, Mystics 59

Sacramento looked a bit out of sorts from the git-go on this one, but the Comets looked even worse, with strings of bad plays that kept them off the board for minutes at a time. Houston needs to address these problems. Now. Sacramento, meanwhile,

The Mystics can't catch a break. They kept it close for most of the contest, but the Sparks finally put them down like the dogs that they are. And who can blame them? When you gotta put down Ol' Yeller, you got to put down Ol' Yeller. This puts the skids on the Silver Stars streak. They'll have to find some way to get things on again.

Detroit @ Indiana
Phoenix @ Minnesota

Another matchup, this time in Indiana. Last time I picked this series I lost. I'll take the Shock by 6 this time and know I'm wrong before the ball even skips into the air.

Phoenix is reeling. Minnesota is on a roll. The Mercs need this more. The Lynx are at home. The Mercs are going to have to win sometime, and with their firepower, it will be soon. But I won't pick against the Lynx just yet. Especially not with their engines firing on all cylinders.Lynx by 7.

All right. Sorry this is so quick. Pens are coming on soon. Let's rock 'em, Penguins. Until Monday, ladies and gents?

See ya, Space Cowboy...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Gameday - Libs on Sun


We all know what happened the LAST time the Liberty played the Sun. Hellfire. Brimstone. Thousands of wailing children. Spilled beer. That awful-ass "Clap and Stand up 'til we Score" bullshit. But that was then. This is now. A new game. A new day. A new town. A New... New York. Let's get it on.

Now 1-2, the Liberty's season is shaping up to be one of mediocrity. Inconsistency has plagued the ladies from the start, with fantastic play showing at certain points in the game (usually the 2nd or 3rd quarters), mitigated by awful showings in the first and last ten minutes of a game. But that's not what's keeping the Libs down entirely. Other factors have come into play as well.

Word is that McCarville's hand injury is doing more than just hampering her play. If that's the case, then we're going to need a lot more from the rest of the gals. There is no single leader on the Libs; they play a tough team game that, when working properly, allows various lassies to come in and play their best when others falter. Dutch, Thor, Moore, Muffin, Jackson... they can all play the game. Patty has to keep that in mind when matching up against the Sun.

Turnovers have become a MAJOR problem for New York, as well. Chaos reigns when the opposing team goes on a run, with every gal trying to do everything they can to win. Coyle should use her timeouts liberally should New York go into some sort of slide. The Liberty won't win a game of flip-flops, as shown in their home opener. Now is the time to concentrate and capitalize on Connecticut's shortcomings.

The Sun are coming off of the worse loss in team history, a 75-46 atom-smasher of a game in front of their hometown fans. Some of the players are reeling from the event, and Coach Mike Thibault is looking for leaders to take the charge and bring the team back from the brink.

Still, despite that awful outing, the Sun are still fifth in the league in PPG (77.5), while the Libs are second-to-last, ahead of only the pitiful Mystics. They are in the middle of the pack of almost every other offensive category, except one; assists, which they lead the entire WNBA in, with over 20 per game.

What's that mean? They like to pass and are more patient than a lot of other teams, waiting for the right moment to strike. They're not particularly dangerous on the outside, but then again, just leaving them there won't limit their game either.

If the Libs are to win this game, they are going to need more than a solid effort from their defense. Connecticut is a tall team, but not overly so; they don't intimidate down low, but they manage to grab choice rebounds and set things back in motion immediately. So, New York is going to have to come up big underneath the net, while also not making stupid, wasteful shots that go directly into the Sun's hands.

Other than that, the usual keys apply. Starters. Bench. Team play. Leadership. You know the drill. This is going to be a tough game, but the Libs can take the Sun, especially now, if they open up first and keep Connecticut reeling. Courage and confidence will push the Belles out ahead for good, while a lack of discipline and sloppy play will reawaken the sleeping giants.

Keys to the Game

  • Rebounds. The Sun lead the East. The Liberty are at the bottom of the league. Rectification is in order.
  • Steals. The Sun don't play that aggressively. The Liberty might play that kind of game TOO much. If the Libs are to win, they're going to have to balance out their desperation with their judgment.
  • The Mohegan Sun. Connecticut's barn has not been kind to the Libs recently. The Belles, ala Hoosiers, should measure the court and recognize that it's the same size as the one at MSG.

Essence Carson has some words to say about her first WNBA road trip. Find it here.


Fever 82, Sparks 78 (2 OT)
Lynx 75, Sky 69

The Fever managed to overcome some sloppy second-half play to come back and take it from the Los Angeles Parkers in double overtime. Katie Douglas led the way, scoring 25 points (albeit with a few bad passes thrown in as well), while the Fever D held Candace Parker to 16. Both teams shot horribly from beyond the arc, but give credit where credit is due; they did actually TRY to shoot the ball.

The Sky managed to shoot well from the 3, steal balls, and limited their own fouls while taking advantage of Minnesota's roughshod play. Still, it wasn't enough, as the 2nd quarter stood as the only time when Chicago significantly outplayed their opponents. Seimone Augustus led the Lynx with 19 points, while the bench of the Lynx contributed solid shots and good rebound control (Of note: Charde Houston, with 15 pts. and 6 rbs.). Sylvia Fowles (16 pts) and Candice Dupree (12 pts) each scored in the double-digits for the Sky, but beyond that? A whole lot of small numbers.

Houston @ Sacramento
San Antonio @ Seattle

Houston is off to another horrendous start, losing their first 3 games by fairly close margins. Their defensive stats aren't awful, but they can't seem to get over the hump to win a game If they are going to stop this streak quickly, Sacramento might be the sacrificial lamb. The Monarchs are also off to a poor opening (1-3), while their touted defense has seen more holes shot through it than a redneck's barn wall. Sacramento is at home, however, and they have shown way more promise than the Comets at this point. Monarchs by 5.

The Silver Stars (got the name right this time) have put together two strong wins after dropping their opener. But that mini-streak might end as they travel to the Emerald City to face off against the surging Storm. Seattle dropped their first game of the season a week ago (in San Antonio), but bad officiating and a weak showing from the bench can be blamed for that. It's going to be a close game, but Seattle has more to lose; they need to establish that they can win at home and win consistently so that they don't wind up like last year's roller coaster of mystique and ineptitude. Storm by 6.

All right. I'm off to Brighton Beach. Screw Coney Island: no fat men in their underwear for me today. Keep it real, folks.

See ya, Space Cowboy...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sorry for the delay...

(Regular update up in a bit. For some reason, Blogger didn't post this yesterday.)

Sorry it's been a week. It's tough getting back into the swing of things. Especially when a Chinatown bus strands you in the Pennsylvania countryside for over six hours. As a word of advice, NEVER take the Dragon Deluxe buses. Never. Ever ever.

Images continue to be a problem. Until I can find out why, this is going to be an image-less blog, so sorry for all you lovers of my inane jokes. But enough with that. On with the news!


The Libs took their first win of the season from the Washington Mystics by finally realizing that passing, shooting, and taking advantage of turnovers are all a part of the game, not apart of it.

Big props in this game to limiting Monique Curry to six shots and 2 points (both from the line), while playing nine Belles for more than 10 minutes each. McCarville started out strong, posting 9 points in her 14 minutes of play, but when she faltered due to her hand injury, Patty was quick to sit her.

Dutch and Thor each had 17 points to lead the Libs, while Loree Moore picked up 7 assists in a solid game. Turnovers are still a problem (Kraayeveld herself had 5!), but the Libery managed to hold onto their defensive game to keep the Mystics off of the board.

One note; the Libs definitely began to slack off in the second half. After the Belles went up 46-25, DC outscored New York in both the 3rd and 4th quarters. This is mostly due to the bench playing most of the second half, but still... when you have a team on the run, keep pushing.

With that, the Liberty were even for the season. Sure, they had dropped the home opener in a piss-poor manner, but things were going much better. All the ladies got in on the action, and everything looked yippy-skippy...


...but then the Liberty forgot everything and dropped a toughie to Detroit.

With the Red Wings beating my Penguins 2-1 in the Stanley Cup Finals, and GM continuing to create crappy cars that cost too much and break down too often, I'm not high on the Motor City at the moment. But they do field a terribly strong WNBA team that has managed to catapult themselves to the top of the East (yet again), and taking advantage of the glut of mediocre teams in the East - and let's be frank, considering the Libs mediocre at this point is generous - has put them where they are.

The Belles managed to score only 6 points in the first quarter, while going on to play up-and-down ball the entire game. How so? They held the Shock to 10 in the 2nd, then let up 25 in the 3rd, then abandoned defense to pour on the O in the last ten minutes, scoring 33 points in the 4th. But when you only manage 19 points in the first half, the game can't be decided by last-minute heroics.

Props for never saying die, but let's face facts. Dutch shot 18 times and missed all but 4. Tiffany Jackson and Lisa Willis led the team with a respectable 12 points each, but they didn't even start the game. Everybody continues to take bad shots and give up the ball at inopportune times. Patty is now playing more from the bench (thank God), but her hand has been forced by the inconsistent play from the first five. Something needs to settle the gals down. The Libs are now 1-2, and while I won't hit the panic button yet, things aren't looking so hot.

Next game is tomorrow. Everybody up for it? I'll have info posted sometime in the afternoon. Unless I go to the beach, in which case it'll be the morning. Don't push me. Jackals.

Big shout out to Aaron for providing links for tickets to the Outdoor Classic. If anybody missed it, here it is again. Pray for a good day, but with the WNBA's luck, it'll pour.


Los Angeles @ Indiana
Minnesota @ Chicago

Candace Parker Can't Lose. At least, not yet. Her Sparks are abysmal without her; absent her points leading the way, the Sparks are dead-last in the league in PPG and FG%. True, Lisa Leslie is back in action, and Milton-Jones and Spencer can score (when they choose to shoot), but their isn't a lot of protection in the back. But until the some team finds the Kryptonite that'll ground Parker, I won't pick against them. Especially when they're playing an inconsistent Fever team. Sparks by 6.

Minnesota took care of business first in Detroit, and then eked out a win over the Comets in overtime. This is definitely a different team than the one that looked like a New York Nationals-impersonators last year. Chicago is also showing signs of a much improved squad, although truthfully, that isn't saying much. Still, they lost to the now 3-1 Seattle Storm on the road by only 6 points, while handily beating the Monarchs (something I did NOT predict...). I would give the edge to the Sky playing at home, but 3,000 quiet fans barely constitutes a home court advantage. And that 12.5% from beyond the arc is almost a war-crime. So, I'll take the Lynx by 4 instead.

Candice Dupree is blogging for ESPN now, and this post showcases some of her travails as she went from Poland to Chicago, playing ball the whole way.

Yes, yes... Candace Parker is on fire. Her jerseys are outselling everbody else's in the league... combined. And she's a decent human being. Let the idol worship begin.

It ain't easy going home. Just ask Katie Douglas. After the obligatory cheer when she was announced at her homecoming in Connecticut (after being traded to Indiana), the Sun fans immediately started giving her the ol' Hartford Wail whenever she touched the ball.

Suck it up.

Speaking of the Sun, Lindsay Whalen was named the East's player of the week. She averaged over 16 points, while shooting over 56% from the field. Sophia Young was the West's pick for that period. Here's the complete stats and announcement.

The Atlanta Dream sold-out their very first game. Huzzah! And their second game! Hurray! And the Dream are now 0-4! Damn. Still, optimism runs high, especially when you have people traveling over several hundred miles to see you play ball.

And finally, some video of everyone's favorite ex-Lib, Becky Hammon, being her cutest and badass-est (sp?). Click, double-click, and then save the link. If you're into her. Which you should be.

You're not a commie, are you?

Gameday tomorrow. Get on your war gear!

See ya, Space Cowboy...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gameday - Libs versus the Mistakes

I mean the Mystics. No, wait. I was right the first time.

(Rest of photos to come later. Internet is being a Drama Queen.)

Pat Coyle had this to say about Sunday's game against the Sun: "It was the home opener, I don't know how you can come out flat. We need to regroup in a hurry, that's what I expect from this group and that's what is going to happen." Unfortunately, Patty, it's YOUR job to motivate the gals. And if they won't play high-tempo ball in front of a hometown audience, then you need to sit them or make them do suicides at practice until they know who's boss.

The Libs' problems start with coaching, but I'm not letting the players off the hook at all. Let's admit it: the Libs looked sloppy on Sunday. Poor shots, no talking, and major lapses in basic defense combined with some ill-timed turnovers to create a horrible, horrible way to start out the 2008 season. But there's 33 games still left. We can all laugh about this game when we reach the post-season... IF the team wakes up. And that needs to start today, in our game against an opponent that is still reeling from their opening-night drubbing.

Bring it, soul-suckers.

The Mystics and the Libs look very similar on paper. Both teams had 16-18 seasons last year, both had piss-poor openings, and both don't have a large enough data sample this season to make statistics worth using. Last year, Erin Thorn, Loree Moore, and Shameka Christon were the heroes of the D.C.-NY series, but these are new teams, with new mindsets. Each team is hellbent on not dropping to 0-2.

But there the similarities end. While McCarville might be the top player for New York (Shameka Christon is banging when she's hot), the Libs rely on strong teamwork from a half-dozen players to take the game. The Mystics, on the other hand, definitely rely on their big names to put them up, with the bench cleaning up the scraps and allowing the starters to rest. Coach Tree Rollins, since taking over coaching duties halfway through last year, has long preached a traditional basketball game, with role-players and superstars each fulfilling their duties. It's a good strategy, unless something goes wrong.

Out with a broken crystal ball.

The good news for the Libs is that Alana Beard (2007 ppg: BLANK) is doubtful for the game. That takes a major weapon out of the Mystics arsenal. Washington isn't completely declawed, with Nakia Sanford, Monique Currie, and Taj McWilliams-Franklin all able to move the ball with strength and precision. Washington also has a decent bench that they can extend to, should Beard remain out. They are prone to hasty shots, but when they want to, the Mystics can steal and rebound like no other, pulling victory from the jaws of defeat.

Of course, that's all if they want to show up at all. Washington's Lassies are much different from the team that suited up last year, and it showed in their first game, with miscommunications galore in a beatdown at the hands of the Fever. The Mystics, though holding the Fever to 64 points, only managed 53 themselves. True, the Fever are good, but that is the lowest output from Washington since May 22nd of last year (52 against the then-defensive powerhouse Sacramento Monarchs). Desperation could set in if the Mystics start out slow, or they could get complacent should they move ahead. I really don't know with this team, but my guess is that they aren't going to be pushovers, even without Beard.

Last year, the Mystics started out the season 0-8 before going 16-10 over the course of the rest of the season. They didn't make the playoffs due to a technicality (which allowed our Belles to squeak past). Washington CAN'T start out poorly again this year, especially to a team that beat them by a nose to the post-season. Expect fire to rain from the heavens tonight.

Gotta admit: the Mystics go all-out with this "Worshipping Satan" thing.

History is on the Libs' side in this matchup. Washington is 14-23 overall against the Libs, including lossing seven straight in New York (stretching back to 2004). All of our ladies are capable of big numbers, and if there's a team that can pull us out of the despair of our season opener, its the Mystics. We have Detroit, Seattle, and the Sun again in the next three games. We could easily be 0-5 after all that.

Time to take out the garbage, ladies.

Keys to the Game

  • Defense. I like that the Libs are more agressively-defensive this year, but they have to pick and choose their battles. Watch out for the open woman, fight for loose balls, and - if things aren't going smoothly - shut down and regroup.
  • Dutch. Cathrine Kraayeveld needs to rebound after last game. If she doesn't, Coach Coyle needs to sit her.
  • Turnovers. Sunday's game was atrocious. The Mystics didn't have a great opener in that regard, either. The team that manages to cutdown and pick-up first is going to have a nigh-insurmountable advantage over the other.


Detroit 76, Indiana 71

Yeah, so my prediction went bust. Still, it was a tight game that started out as a blow-out for the Shock (22-10 after the 1st). Indiana held on and went up 63-58 with eight minutes left in the game, but couldn't maintain composure. Two stupid fouls let the Shock right back into the game, and then Nolan, Braxton, and Ford shut the door.

Sacramento @ Chicago

Seattle @ Phoenix

Sacramento is still reeling, trying to figure out its gameplan for the season, but Chicago doesn't have that problem. Much like last year, they look uncentered; they went up early in their first game, but an anemic second half prevented them from picking up the Dubya. Both teams played and lost to Seattle already, and that's about as much similarity as the two have; the Monarchs are beginning to break out of their defensive shell, while the Sky are pushing a shotgun attack that they lack the pieces to fully implement. If Chicago can last the whole 4 quarters, they might be able to pull a win out of their hats. But Sacramento's got the edge here. Monarchs by 6.

Phoenix is 0-2 after winning their championship last season, thanks to the stellar play of the Candace Parker-led Sparks and late-blooming Storm. They were in both games up until the end, however, and Seattle might be due for an upset. Their two victories both came against opponents that are still finding their wind. New Storm coach Brian Agler (no stranger to the women's game, having coached in the ABL, for the Lynx, and assisted on the Mercs and Silver Stars) has instituted a never-say-die attitude, however. Even if the Mercury go up, I wouldn't call this game until the final second has ticked off the clock. This is a toss-up... I'll say Mercs by 4.

Speaking of Parker, it’s the first week of the season and already people are talking about her as the MVP? Come on, lads and lassies. Not to take away from ehr 34 point performance (damn!), but it's only one game. If early success was all that mattered, Krispy Kreme would remain the best-selling fastfood joint on the planet.

…instead of the recipient of the “Disappearing Franchise” award.

On the same note of early season "highs and lows", attendance for the openers has been (so far) fantastic, while attendance for second games (so far) has been pitiful. True, this happens every season, but it blows to come off a season in which attendance increased for the first time in a number of years and then see this kind of drop-off.

The sad part about this article is that for a second, I almost believed it was real. Which shows three things. A.) I am not adverse to seeing some of these ladies in their undergarments. B.) I have become so numbed by the league's stupid decisions that this kind of stuff doesn't even set off my bullshit alarm anymore. C.) My departure from the blogging world has left me vulnerable to such tactics.

Vulnerable like a Boy Scout at a Priest's Convention.

Apparently, the Sky can't afford to miss the playoffs. Well, they'd better stop playing like a group of D-League castoffs in the second half of games, then.

That's about it for me today. I'll try to update late-night tonight, but it may have to wait for tomorrow. Until then?

See ya, Space Cowboy...
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