Thursday, July 17, 2008

July 17th, 2008: Washington at New York

New York Liberty 77, Washington Mystics 56

Leilani Mitchell bares her nasty pointy teeth, Ashley Battle flexes her considerable muscles, and dysfunctional Mystics are dysfunctional.

Okay, okay, it's the Mystakes, I shouldn't be getting too many of my hopes up after this, even after a performance like this. But damn, do I love these kids or what?

Very few Mystics involved in the pregame shootaround- just Mosby, Langhorne, and Sanford. We began to wonder if Tree Rollins had a cunning plan up his sleeve, but that would require Tree Rollins having a cunning plan. Then there was that whole thing with the change in the starting lineup, which I wasn't even sure was legal- would love to know the explanation for that one. So yeah, that was weird.

Janel was awfully moody during shootaround. Guess she was focusing on the game. Either that, or the randomizer came up with "emo" today for her persona.

Nice harmony on the anthem, though they missed a few notes. Also, please not to be wearing mopheads. They are not particularly decorative.

The more I see of Rollins's Mystics, the less I like them. It almost seems that the mentality of "if you can't beat 'em, beat 'em up" is coming into play; their style hints of desperation, and Beard's of despair. Taj must be so frustrated, going from dysfunctional team to dysfunctional team. I was surprised they didn't go in to her more, because the shots she took were going in, and she had a wily way of getting around the defense. Beard also seemed to be playing back, although I'm not sure how much of that was her having to be playmaker and how much of that was defense and how much of that was her just not giving a good goddamn. She came on in the third quarter, and somewhat in the fourth, but she wasn't as involved in the game as I'm used to, and I think once Currie started to suck, she needed to get more involved at the offensive end. Sanford seems to be resting on her laurels, having procured way too much money from the Lynx deal that the Mystics matched. Also, not a big fan of flying elbows and draaaaaaaaaaaaama. Spare me until you can hit the free throws. That goes for Currie, too. I keep telling myself I've been judging Currie on her build and her swagger, and then she goes out onto the floor and does something that makes me go, "oh, *that's* why I didn't like her, I remember now!" Nikki Blue does not impress me, though that may be because the most lasting impression I have of her from that game comes from 1) tripping Leilani with what looked like a hand on her leg to pull her down on replay (I reserve the right to have seen things wrong), and 2) her hand on Cathrine's leg like she should have been offering to buy Cat a drink- while on the other side of the floor, Jess or someone gets called for less of a foul. Strong rebounding and boxing out, though. Then again, it's not hard to box out the Libkids. Saw more of Mosby than I expected- is the Krystal Vaughn experiment over, then? Langhorne played well enough, had a couple of moves, but you can't airball a free throw. You just can't. Especially not when the odds are good you know someone in the crowd. Saw surprising amounts of Laurie Koehn in situations that I would not have expected to see Laurie Koehn in, and not in situations I would have expected her in for. Crystal Smith seemed to be in solely to match up with Leilani, and our midget is better than their midget. Wecker sighting, and I forgot she had that range, but other than that… and I'm trying to find something to say about Coco Miller, I really am. But looking at the boxscore, I don't think the Mystics fans would want me to.

Leilani!! Fluffy little bunny has her some nasty pointy teeth! How about that drive with the reverse layup? It's really fucking obvious to anyone with eyes that Loree's playing hurt, and that the pigeon-toed stride is not just her channeling Spoon. But for the first time since Coquese Washington, this team has a backup point guard who is competent, who is actually a point guard, and who the coach trusts. This makes me a lot more confident. And I'm loving Lisa's development. In a way, I think our guard reserves are learning from each other- Ashley knows that she has to score if she wants minutes, and in return Erin and Lisa are learning that they have to play defense if they want minutes. Erin had a great defensive play on Beard late in the game, which was a big help since Ashley was on Koehn. Lisa's getting very good at getting her hands on the ball. And our Miss Jackson on the boards, of course. So good to see Jess back on the court- yes, she's slow, but I believe that's called being a center in the Big Numerically Challenged; give her a little time and she'll round into proper WNBA shape. I have faith in her- but I'd have a helluva lot more if she'd grab onto a rebound and hold onto it instead of tapping it out and/or not getting a grip on it. Also, can I mention in passing that I get a warm, fuzzy feeling of rightness with #23 and #50 on the court at the same time? Yes, I'm weird. I thought Ashley was forcing her offense at times, but it could have been worse. As for the starters- well. It seems that Essence Carson is the kind of person who does nothing by halves. If she's going to hit the rookie wall, then by God, she's going to hit it so hard that she leaves a multi-colored splat on the wall. It's brutal for a Rutgers fan to watch. Cathrine- where has this Cathrine been for the last year or so, and can we keep her, please oh please can we keep her? Shot blocking monster in the paint, rebounding, setting screens- YES OH GOD YES. Janel and the Pick of Death- and her "did iiiiiiiii do thaaaaaaaat" reaction- are love. Big, painful love. Brutally efficient. Shameka didn't hit her shots, but the hair is awesome and she got herself to the line enough. And Loree? Loree is hurt. She has to be. Either that or this is a Pod Person and the real Loree is in space while aliens figure out how she got those shoulders.

Everyone forgot how to tell time today. The gates opened early- except upstairs, where they opened late. The Mystics committed more eight-second violations than I've ever seen in a pro game. The Liberty committed more shot clock violations than I've seen in a game. LOOK AT THE CLOCK. IS NO COMPLICATED.

Small crowd. Quiet crowd; by the time we had reason to get into it, it wasn't worth getting into because the butt-whooping was on and there was no need for that extra oomph.

We had Ad-Libs- everyone act surprised that Shameka takes the longest to get ready. Erin was very animated about it, though. Usually they deliver the answer as woodenly as a carpentry shop, but Erin elaborated on it- "the hair's gotta be right, she's gotta do the makeup, she has to have the right outfit". Oh, Erin. We also had the Maddie Awards- Lisa was the only one to get the line right, damnit!

Madame President was in the house, and I thought I saw Lib Fan giving her a piece of his mind about roster cards. I wouldn't be surprised.

Little Jackets versus Oh God Who Thought That Suit Was A Good Idea. Dear Coach Rollins: should you feel the burning urge to dress in team colors, may we suggest a tasteful blue suit? Blue works for everyone. Crystal Robinson looked good, though. She seems to have found a figure in recent years.

Lots of make-up calls and no-calls in this game. But it never got out of hand.

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