Friday, June 27, 2008

June 26th, 2008: Indiana at New York

New York Liberty 102, Indiana Fever 96

This is the game that never ends- yes, it goes on and on, my friends. Both teams made sure of that, for good and for ill.

Oh my God, that was epic. That was dramatic. That was- I hope a lot of people caught this while channel-surfing during the draft, because, damn, that there was a lot of basketball. I'm exhausted, and I don't even want to think about what kind of state the starters are in for both teams.

I thought it was a bad sign when my train ride started out full of crazy- we had one guy loudly inveighing on the way people talk really loudly on trains, and after he called me a blimp, one woman started screaming at him to get off the train… and then went on her own little rant about how he thought he was entitled because he was a white American man. So that was fun like a thing that's not fun.

But then the Fever were very nice- that's one thing I'll say for them, that franchise does treat folks with class- and I got to hear Katie Douglas let out a completely frickin' random primal scream/war whoop during shootaround, so that was awesome. I gambled that security wouldn't give me agita because ESPN would want seats down near the court full, so I sat behind Ali (who, in case you don't know her, sits right over by the Liberty bench- right behind's usual spot, in fact) until the actual ticketholder showed up in the second quarter, at which point I headed up to hang with kw, Mrs. kw, and auntie. That was fun. I miss my old neighbors.

Ebony Hoffman is impressing me more and more every time I see her. She's always been surprisingly fast for her size, and very agile as well. Now she's extending her range and making defenses respect her clear out beyond the arc. One of 2004's hidden gems, to be sure, and as much because of hard work as because of talent. Douglas was killer at both ends, hitting big shots that would have broken any other team and making sharp defensive plays. The Tamikaze (great nickname, BCBG) was at it again, but she didn't dominate the way I'm used to her dominating. This wasn't her game the way so many games against the Liberty have been. TSB seems to have lost the hooker twitch in her walk, and was actually working for rebounds today (although that's not exactly challenging against Cathrine). Tully hit the floor, so it was an official game, and she made some critical defensive plays, but I still don't understand that last shot of hers. As for the Fever bench, I know Tan White was there, but I genuinely don't remember her doing anything worth mentioning. Ditto LaToya Bond. Bales got a few minutes, including some in a weird lineup with TSB. Sherill Baker served as the defensive switch for TSB, and I think that was about all she did. Feaster got her shtos, and hit one of them, because seriously, people we do not leave Allison Feaster open, not until at least one leg has fallen off. Bernadette Ngoyisa looks like she's put on a lot of weight since leaving the Liberty, and isn't using it at all well. She looked really lost in the offense- yes, I know, she's relatively new to the team, but catching the ball should not be that complicated an operation.

Then again, a fan of the team that has Cathrine Kraayeveld shouldn't talk about fumbling passes. Jeebus. But Cat turned it up in the fourth quarter with the tie, and in the OT. In the first half, though, she and Essence were both awful. And I got to see Cathrine look awful and awfully confused up close. When Essence started to come alive in the second half, we were joking around about what Patty said to light a fire under her, and I suggested that the best way to put the fear of God into her would be to just quietly say, "Coach Stringer would not be pleased." But in the OT she started acting like she had to put everything on her shoulders, and took some absolutely crazy shots that she had no business taking. Loved when she climbed the stanchion to avoid going into the crowd. Sista Christon- she was a fighter out there, getting her shots and forcing fouls. I was surprised that most of the boneheaded "hey, let's go out there and not win this game!" moves weren't from her- I love Shameka to pieces as a person, but she does tend to make some dumb decisions on the court. Janel- wow. Just. Wow. I'm pretty sure that's a Garden record for a Liberty player- Becky's 33 came at Minnesota, and the only other game I could think of was when Tari went for 30… against the Fever, in a game where we needed every poin to win. What do you mean, that sounds familiar? Loree is solid, and played solid, except for a couple of inexplicable passes. Miss Jackson got called on to swing between Janel and Cathrine's positions, and she brought a lot of energy. The rest of the bench didn't play all that much, which had to hurt later. Erin was basically a decoy during crunch time in the fourth and the overtimes, and I was about ready to kill her for passing up her three until Cathrine, you know, tied the game, then it was all okay. Leilani wasn't bad, and I think a couple of more minutes for her during regulation could have helped alleviated some of the fatigue problems that set in in the overtimes. Yes, I'm thinking of the free throw that Loree left short. Lisa was active on defense, but it seemed that as soon as she found her groove, she was pulled, never more to see the light of day. Erlana had a Screen of Death and one helluva tackle.

Actually, there were a lot of tackles in the game. The crew let the players play, for the most part, and it went both ways. Difference in fouls and free throws came both in the timing of Indiana's fouls and in forcing fouls. That, and missing shots that should have been and-ones. I never thought I'd see the day when I screamed, "JUNE, I LOVE YOU!" but that jump ball, overruling the male ref all ready to call a foul on Loree, saved the game for us. Things got quite wild out there.

Rebecca Lobo's pregnant again. Either she wants an entire front line or she wants a boy. Other than that, she looks good. It's disconcerting to see her in flip-flops, though. (Weird fact of the day: all three players who have ever worn #50 for the New York Liberty were in the house, with Rebecca working as a commentator, Bernie on the Fever, and Jess on the Liberty.) She was chatting with Kym Hampton before the game- soliciting tips, maybe? Because, you know, she totally hasn't done this before…

Gorgeous anthem. Fucking amazing. Boring contests, though. And for the love of God, I don't care if he's the sweetest guy on the planet, that guy in the Christon jersey is enough to make a woman wish she could turn gay.

Whole lot of Charlotte going on tonight, and at one of the quarter breaks, Janel and TSB were chatting it up about something.

Late-arriving crowd. These 7PM tips dick with everyone's schedule.

Favorite moment of the game, of sorts- Katie Douglas gets off a three as Erin Thorn closes on defense… and out of Erin Thorn's Utahn, possibly-Mormon, mouth comes a short, hard word starting with F. Our little Cougar is growing up and learning how to sling the local lingo. *sniffle*

Not amused by Coyle's bench management. She does know you're allowed to use reserves in the second half, right? On the other hand, she managed her timeouts much more effectively than Dunn did, and Dunn *was* forced into using her bench by the foulouts of Hoffman and Catchings.

I think that's about all I'm coherent enough to write. That was just epic. That's the only word left for it.

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