A New York Liberty Blog

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...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What I've been up to...

The last four months in a nutshell.

As most of you have probably noticed, before Monday, I hadn't updated this blog since January. A lot of stuff happened in that time - both for the Libs and for me - and I can't go over all of it. Still, I need to catch up a bit, and will be doing so in the upcoming weeks.


  • Go over the Libs' draft picks. Yeah, it would've been better to have done this the day-of, but then again, I got nothing better to do.
  • Take off all hot-linked pages. I just don't have time to redo them and I can't continue to keep them up. So, if you think they're funny, better look now before they're gone.
  • Do an "In Memory" piece on Shay and Martina. They deserve it.
  • Update what my "special" features are going to be this year.
  • Begin the Liberty Belle and Nickname selections for the new Libs.

As you can see, it's a lot to do, and I'll be doing my best to stay up on it. I've got two books coming out (part of the reason why I didn't have a lot of time to update), and the search for the job has been long and fruitless. Thank God for freelancing...

Or as I like to call it, "Barely-Paid Boredom."

But you don't care about me. You all care about the Liberty. And why shouldn't you, now that the season has FINALLY started.

It started feeling like an eternity after a while.

Power Rankings are up at the WNBA's site and at ESPN. Yeah, the Libs are low, but consider that this is also only the second week. Let's wait a bit before the Chicken-Little talk, okay?

Here's a BIT more on the Outdoor Classic. Frankly, I think it's a fantastic idea (so long as it doesn't rain). The only thing cooler would be to have the Libs play at the W. 4th Street Courts, but the crowds might be a bit of a problem.

Though judging by the way the Libs handle ticket sales, maybe not...


Silver Spurs 81, Mercury 76
Storm 74, Monarchs 62

The Mercs are struggling with their new coach while Penny Taylor is out, dropping their first two. Taurasi and Pondexter are still averaging over 22 points a game each, but Phoenix is going to need a lot more if they want to keep riding off their first WNBA championship. Meanwhile, the Silver Spurs also look a bit unwieldy, though this could have to do with the long off-season. They managed to beat the Mercs by playing their usual brand of decent defense coupled with a strong dose of timely achievement. Becky Hammon's got to wake up, but as long as Sophia Young can produce, that team will play at least .500 ball.

The Storm have the look of last year's Libs - starting out strong and winning games in which they shoot themselves in the foot. Sacramento had their number in the first half and was on their way to putting up a 2-0 record. But then their defense collapsed and the Australian Goddess known as Lauren Jackson suddenly remembered how to play ball.

Must have been the jet-lag from her "Reason's the Writer is Glad He's Straight" Contest.

The Monarchs don't look like the team that dominated the first half of the WNBA West last year. They need a bit more discipline, and if anybody can do it, it's Coach Boucek.

Indiana @ Detroit

Last year's Eastern Conference Finals match-up is getting revisited, and Katie Douglas is going to be the key. She scored 24 points in her Fever debut and is looking to keep her team on a roll. The Shock, meanwhile, are looking to erase some of the bad taste left in their mouths from the Lynx. Was that abomination and aberration? Or a sign of things to come? Fever by 6.

Donna Orender is already talking about adding two more teams to the league within the next five years. Let's see how this little experiment in Atlanta turns out, shall we? After all, the expansion team got downed 100-67, and unless they turn it around, Orender's idea that there's too much talent in the league rings a bit hollow.

As Hollow as Kevin Bacon in that one movie. I think it was called "The Guy Who Was Invisible, But Not Really All the Time".

As an aside to that, creating an expansion team and then having them take the next week off isn't the best way to keep people's interest high. At least they have two home games in three days... which should REALLY keep that expansion team on their toes. I know I say it all the time, but somebody's gotta kill the WNBA Scheduler.

Muppet-Style. Like Always.

The WNBA is hyping their new affiliation with McDonald's... or is it the other way around? In any case, its a coup for the league, as McD's is a huge sponsor, but at the same time, that Scottish corporation is still a festering boil on the face of humanity. Now Five Guys... THERE'S a burger chain. Check out the one on Bleecker and 7th. Or on Laguardia and Houston. You won't be disappointed. DAMN IS IT GOOD!

Definitely worth selling my soul and this blog's credibility for.

The Libs are gearing up for tomorrow's match-up against the Mystics tomorrow. I'll be previewing the game and (hopefully) posting a wrap-up near midnight. If I can. I'm going to be in State College, PA, and for all I know, I'll be loaded. Is there any other way to experience State College?

See ya, Space Cowboy...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

We're Back - Libs Lose

Let's Rock n' Roll!

After what seems like forever, the WNBA season has started. It's been almost nine months, with tons of info and goings-on happening in between. Trades, an expansion team, the draft, the announcement of an Outdoor Classic (for inspiration, see Buffalo Sabres vs. Pittsburgh Penguins), and a whole lot more.

As for me, I've been out of commission since January. If any of you are still around, thanks. It was quite crazy there for a while. I'll update everybody about my various to-do's that happened in that time span, but I know why you're all here...


The 2008 WNBA Season tipped off today for New York, with the Libs trying to best tha already 1-0 Connecticut Sun for that all-important first win. No one wants to be like the 2007 Minnesota Lynx or Houston Comets, you know?

A graphic depiction of those teams' seasons.

Unfortunately, the Liberty started off on the wrong foot. Sure, we won the toss, but that was followed by three missed shots before the first non-free throw basket was made some three-plus minutes into the quarter. Whoever thought that the "Clap/Stomp Until We Score" thing was a good idea should be executed, Muppet-style.

It's the only way.

Tamike Whitmore continued to prove Carol Blazejowski wrong (read, "moronic") for the trade that sent her out of town, while the remnants of Connecticut's "Big Four" (Whalen and Jones) showed why Connecticut finished a strong third in the conference last year. Janel McCarville managed to keep things interesting, however, netting the first four points of the Libs and making a few nice rebounds and plays. Unfortunately, the Libs couldn't get much out of anybody else and by the end of the first 10, the score read 20-16.

The Sun just kept pounding going into the 2nd, despite missing shot after shot. Raymond kept the Sun ahead with 6 rebounds, 4 points, and 2 clutch assists while the Sun seemed to be dazed at the lack of offensive-awareness shown by the Libs. Even McCarville slowed down. Rutgers alum (and the Liberty's 1st round draft pick this year) Essencse Carson saw most of her action in this quarter, but was limited to just one basket.

The Liberty Faithful at the half.

Now, if you were Pat Coyle, and two of your starters (Kraayeveld and Moore) combined for six points in twenty minutes of play, what would you do? If you answered "Keep Playing Them and Bench McCarville", you're damn right. Unfortunately, you also just blew it.

Thanks a lot, chump.

And so it went, with the 2nd half starting out just as poorly, with the sole saving grace being the Timeless Torches and their bad-ass routines.

The Belles began to show some life through the end of the 3rd and into the 4th, going on a 18-4 run that put them within 4 points of the Sun. McCarville, finally seeing some action, put together a nice few plays (and two solid shots), while Tiffany Jackson, and Shameka Christon continued their decent games...

Thor will not be denied her points!

... but just like that, the Libs lost their mojo again. Rebound after rebound was being picked up by the Sun, while the missed shots were finally beginning to add up. Kraayeveld awoke - briefly - from her slumber to score a basket and then turn over the ball on some bad shots before finally, the Sun pulled an Old Yeller and did what they had to do.

Muppet-Style. Once again.

The final? 77-63. Most telling stat? 46-29 rebound total, in favor of the Sun. Best game? Connecticut's Ashja Jones, with 16 points (5-10, 6-6 for FTs), with another 4 assists and 5 rebounds. All of this despite the Connecticut Sun turning over the ball 20 times to the Libs. Of course, the Libs turned it back another 20 times, so... yeah... ugh...

Good things I noticed? The new, up-tempo defense worked really well (at points). Tiffany Jackson, when not seemingly lost on the court, had a strong game. Pat Coyle seems more willing to play from the bench than last year.

Bad things I noticed? Newcomers to the team still need to find their stride. Coyle has GOT to take out players that aren't cutting it. Turnovers are killer, but bad shots are WAY worse. And for GOD'S SAKE, LADIES! GET YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR WHEN ITS OBVIOUS THERE'S A SHOT ON THE WAY!

Overall, this looks like its going to be a decent season, but the Libs have to work on a few things. Everybody just needs to calm down. Sure, we're 0-1, but we have Washington up next, and the Satan-Worshippers... I mean, the Mystics... are going to have to deal with an angry group of Belles.

Still not satisfied? Listen to this. It'll calm you down.

Good? Can we continue? Very well.

Essencse Carson got a good write-up from the Daily News. She wasn't overwhelming in her opener, but hey, the crowd was into her and she still has some room to grow. I'll hold my tongue for now.

Lastly, I just want to call someone out.

Dutch? Will you please stand up?

You know that I like you, Kraayeveld. I think you're the bees knees, in fact. Unfortunately, your play today was worse than awful. It was atrocious. Your pappy taught you better than that. It seemed like you were a net-minus every time you were on the court. Sure, you made a couple decent plays, but every time I looked, you were making a bad shot, or in some other way destroying whatever rhythm the Libs had going. Your numbers weren't horrid (2-7, 6 rebounds, 6 points), but that's not the whole story. For a starter (over 33 minutes played), you need to produce more. I know you have it in you to be great. Just promise me that today you were suffering from SARS or something, and all will be forgiven.

Okay. I'm spent.


  • A little over 10,000 people at the game today. Strong crowd, but the lowest turnout for an opener in Lib's history. Looks like that decision to cut down on the size of the arena paid of dividends.
  • Connecticut wasn't exactly overwhelming. Still, they got the job done, and in the end, they're 2-0.
  • Tamika Whitmore = strong first half, dull second half.
  • Lindsay Whalen is a beast.
  • Officiating was all over the place. As in, I had no idea what they were gonna call next. Roping, perhaps? (Bonus points if any of you got the D2 reference).
  • Newcomers Leilani Mitchell and Megan Duffy will have to pull double-duty to replace the gaping hole left in my heart by the departure of Martina Weber. But if anybody can do it, it's those two.
And just like that, the first game is in the books. It wasn't pretty, but it reminded me of why I got into this team in the first place. Hopefully, the team will get better. But I still plan on going to most games this year, even if the Libs insist on keeping that ridiculous seating chart.

You, sir, are the bane of my existence!

A more "professional" recap can be found here.



Thanks to the ineptitude of the updaters at WNBA.com, I am unable to give a decent recap of this game. Not that I should be talking about updaters...

...but in anycase, It looks like the Lynx were able to hold off the big guns of the Shock and post a strong win to open up their season. A lot better than last year, huh? And Detroit? Come on. Whatza mattah wit' you? Huh? Yous otta be ashamed o' ya-selves!

No games tomorrow. Monday's are bad for the WNBA. Just like Garfield.

Candace Parker's debut went off swimingly. More than swimmingly, in fact. Her 34 points in the Sparks victory over the BLANK marks an NBA record for a newcomer. A writer for the LA Times thinks that Parker is exactly what the WNBA needs. I would argue that better management would be first on the list, but a healthy dose of star-power in a strong market wouldn't hurt, either.

The Atlanta Dream lost their first game 100-67. Ouch. Owner Ron Terwilliger is trying to do damage control. If this is how the Dream are going to play all season, he's going to need a lot more than band-aids, however.

A LOT more.

A decent WNBA Preview is available here. Just a low-down on what happened in the off-season and what might happen during the 34 game schedule. Solid.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin is not happy about how she's been dealt with by the Sparks. I certainly wouldn't be happy winding up playing in D.C. But then again, I've had it in for that city since it swindled the Expos out of Montreal (with the aid of the MLB).

Baseball just isn't the same without a city that prefers its hamburgers with mayo.

The Storm are settling in to a happier future, one without the threat of destruction or relocation. The same can't be said about the Sonics, but we must take one victory at a time. In case any of you want to help OUT Seattle's NBA team, however, might I suggest THIS for owner/scumbag Clay Bennett.

One note; I will not open any email without the word "Libertine" somewhere in the title. Any email without that word will be trashed. I've been getting a crapload of spam and junk, and unfortunately, if you've mailed me something and I haven't responded, it got lost in the pile. So if you want to get my attention, you know what to do.

There's a lot of stuff that I missed in the off-season, including the absence of two favorite players of mine. But enough of that now. More will come soon. I promise. And this time, I mean it. Until then?

See ya, Space Cowboy...
In accordance with the Fair Use Copyright Law, The Libertine uses logos and registered trademarks of the WNBA to inform fans (and the public at large). Not all photos on the rest of the site, however, are used with permission. If you own a specific image on this site, and want it removed, please e-mail The Writer (stf210@hotmail.com, but please include "Libertine" in the title; otherwise, it will be deleted) and he will be more than happy to remove it, with apologies. The Libertine is a non-profit blog.