Saturday, July 12, 2008

July 12th, 2008: Detroit at New York

New York Liberty 74, Detroit Shock 64

Sista Christon, oh, your time has come. Shameka Christon is on a roll, Lisa Willis helps out, and much noise is made in this joint.

Oh, what a night. Somehow we always seem to have these nights at the Garden against Detroit. And somehow I always seem to end up in Kate or Ali's seats by the Liberty bench for them. (At least this time it wasn't an ESPN game, and therefore I didn't have to worry about a pregnant Rebecca Lobo trying to get through, a situation I've been in two separate times.)

Kids' Day at the Garden, but they didn't do much with it- the big thing was having a kid do the starting lineups. She wasn't bad, except when she stumbled over "athletic trainer" the second time. Also, crowning moment of heartwarming: during shootaround, Megan Duffy and a young… maybe she was a camper at some point? For a while, I thought maybe a cousin, but then Duffy asked the kid if that was her family over there, so I'm guessing not related, because one should know what one's relatives look like. But it was a sweet little conversation.

Crowning moment of "oh God please tell me I stashed my handbag": Jess going through our very narrow aisle to greet someone. Images of newspaper articles flashed before my eyes: "Liberty center Jessica Davenport injured by tripping over fan's purse" Fortunately, all straps were under the chair and no harm was done, but damn, Jess, warn a fan!

Some genius, I don't know who or how or why, managed to put two Shock fans in our section. Behind the Liberty bench. And with both Kate and Alison not in attendance, we had to do a helluva lot of screaming for them. Casey, Catherine, apologies, but y'all do understand, right? Screaming for four, plus drowning out opposing fans. That's a lot of screaming.

There's nothing quite like a prolonged, close-up view of Deanna Nolan from behind to make one appreciate biceps, shoulders, a complete lack of body fat, and tattoos. That being said, this may have been the single worst game I've ever seen Deanna Nolan play in my life, and I've had season tickets for as long as she's been in the league. She looked so out of rhythm, and so lost while her teammates were taking some gods-awful shots. I'm going to hope that we can also credit Essence's defense, because Essence at the other end of the floor… well, some of us would like to sleep tonight, so let's not bring that up. And Smith wasn't hitting all the shots she usually hits, either, and she got some open looks that made me cringe. Very solid play by Humphrey- what is it with Bill and getting the best out of these Bulldogs? Does he have some kind of weird link with Andy Landers? I like her stroke, especially for a big. I think she could have gotten a little more time. Especially with some of the shots Braxton put up. Lord have mercy. Sometimes I genuinely wonder if she knows what the point of the game is. But I should leave her alone- she was very nice to fans after the game. Remind me again why Cheryl Ford isn't on the national team? I mean, okay, the Liberty are not the best rebounding team in the world, but still. If she's not an alternate, I'm going to have to help Bill light the torches and hand out the pitchforks. She played very, very well. Sheri Sam just kind of seemed to be there. Big, solid guard, but not the world's greatest ballhandler- we had the pleasure of seeing Shameka and one of the other Libkids trap her right near our sideline until they finally got the steal. For a defensive fan, that's hot. Lovelace played in very brief stretches and did little with them. Plenette Pierson did everything I've ever expected from her: she scored, she rebounded, she fouled, she flopped, she defended. Hornbuckle- you can see the potential, but she looked more like a rookie than Humphrey did. DNPs for Sanni and Murphy, which led to a bit of confusion later when Murphy came out with Sanni's luggage. Bill's a drama queen, but we all know this, and it's fun to watch. I was almost hoping he'd get T-ed up- I've never seen an ejection from court level before, and I would have liked to see a walk of shame from there. But it is what it is, and I think the refs were smart enough not to T him up, given some of the calls. I was really surprised they shot so much from the perimeter- they have more than enough muscle, and guileful muscle at that, to take any team short of LA in the post, and especially a team like the Liberty with an undersized center and a power forward who thinks she's a shooting guard. I'm glad Detroit didn't play to their strengths, but I expect better than that from Bill.

Shameka Christon! Damn, girl. Just, damn. She got it done down the stretch at both ends of the floor. She came up big right when we needed her to. If she's truly coming into her own, then glory be, and I'll be glad to be along for the ride. And Lisa with the big bucket- oh, that was key, and she's learning how to play both ends of the floor. See? SEE? Sometimes players take TIME to develop! On the other hand, if they're Tiffany Jackson, maybe sometimes they don't need as much time and they can go in and begin kicking ass with exceptional speed. I love her more the more I see her go in and work on the inside. So if she doesn't have a jump shot, I can deal- my favorite post at St. John's has a jumper that makes T-Spoon look like an expert gunner- as long as she's going inside and she's rebounding and she's bringing hustle and energy. She did lose her defensive assignment a couple of times, though, and that's gotta stop. Essence took some dumb shots tonight- just didn't seem to be all with it, although I do note she had the assignment on Nolan, and Nolan went 2-13, so some of that ought to be credited to E. Cathrine got really exposed against the Shock posts- damnit, I know from personal experience that white girls can't jump, but this takes the phrase to new levels. Good grief. Janel, also with the lack of boxing out, but she at least went in, whereas all Cathrine's makes were from the outside. Loree was pretty good, with occasional moments of "oh crap, there's the pod person again". Leilani was not as impressive, but I think there was only one WTF moment when she was on the floor. Don't remember what it was, but one is still better than many. Also, Leilani has brass ones, because she got stuck guarding Detroit posts on more than one possession, and did the best she could with a hard-charging Pierson and the 6'6" Braxton. Ashley played two awful minutes and sat the rest of the game. Right move, much as I hate to say it, because while Lisa didn't turn on until late in the game, she wasn't screwing up quite as spectacularly as AB, who managed to miss rim on both of her lay-ups. Erlana went in, worked hard, and *le gasp* boxed out.

Inconsistency, it is a referee thing. We saw a couple of the questionable calls, and I think Detroit did get the worst of it, but there was always a strong sense of WTF about the refereeing.

Madam President in the house!

I wasn't listening to the halftime concert- as mentioned in another thread, I was copyediting the game notes they gave us. "A piece" is supposed to be one word, and I'm fairly certain the shot from beyond the arc is hyphenated- three-pointer, not three pointer. I'll shut up about the grammar now.

So good to have Vera back. Apparently Mary Murphy's on vacation. Mary, we love ya, but feel free to take as much summer vacation as you want, because Vera's such a joy to have around. We saw her after the game and many of us let her know how much we missed her.

Also coming out the side door after the game were several Shock players: Braxton, Murphy, and Lovelace. To my embarrassment, I didn't recognize Murphy the first time I saw her (in my defense, she was a DNP and I'd forgotten what she looked like from last year, and she was carrying Sanni's luggage) and I think she initially thought I was either asking for Lovelace's auto or Madam President's auto. So yeah. If any Shock PR types have managed to read down this far, please convey my apologies- yes, I really do know who Eshaya "Shay" Murphy is.

These kids are going to kill me one day. The only question is whether I die happy or not.

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