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.
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...
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...