Saturday, September 6, 2008

September 5th, 2008: Atlanta at New York

New York Liberty 82, Atlanta Dream 71

Betty Lennox is a helluva gunner and the Dream can rebound, but the bigs from the Big Ten bring it for the Libkids.

I think the most pressing question today is not McCain or Obama, or what terminology is appropriate to describe Sarah Palin, or even who has which unsavory connections, but quite simply this: HOW AWESOME IS JANEL MCCARVILLE?

Gotta say, tonight got off to an interesting start. I got to the Garden 'round quarter to six, and was going "OMGWTF there's a giant hole where Cosby's used to be" when I noticed a whole passel of people coming at me… in Dream colors. "Cool," I thought to myself. "Dream fans on the road!" And then it occurred to me that one of the women in Atlanta blue was awfully tall, and looked suspiciously like Katie Feenstra. I have no idea what happened, but the entire Atlanta squad came trooping through the front entrance of Madison Square Garden, dressed out (though not in their sneakers- is there any particular reason √Črika DeSouza wraps her feet so heavily?). Not SOP, in case you were wondering. I felt it would be in bad taste to bother them then, but let the record show that they were very nice during the standard autograph-garnering period, and I don't think Katy Steding expected so many people to recognize her. (Hey, it's an Olympic year. These things tend to come back to light.)

My dear, if one fucks up the lyrics to one's national anthem, one does not admit it by restarting the word. One brazens through it and makes sure not to fuck up the rest of the song.

Loved the cut of Tiffany's dress, but either the pink or the plaid needed to go. Pink is a lovely color for her, and she can pull off plaid, but pink plaid is an abomination unto the fashion gods. And Shameka. Oh, dear Lord. Whatever that top was… I shouldn't be looking at our svelte small forward and wondering if she got knocked up during the break. Or, given the cut of the top and the disarray of her hair, if she came through the 8th Avenue side of the Garden, ifyouknowwhatimean. Pretty fabric, though.

I don't know what Atlanta would have done without Betty Lennox tonight, I really don't. She was their best scorer and one of their best rebounders. I know she scored because she dominated the ball, but was anyone else really going to step up? I doubt it. She found a relatively weak spot in the Liberty's lineup and exploited it to hell and back again. Latta still has the on-court 'tude (seriously, plz to suck it up after Screens of Death) and the quick, flashy hands to back up at least part of the talk, but she doesn't seem to have her offensive moxie back, and without tthat second shooter… okay, so maybe that didn't cause our defense to close on Lennox, but it should have. Izi is still fast, and her shot is still pretty, and she burned Erin so badly on one play I thought ET was going to call timeout for aloe vera and maybe a skin graft. Great ball distribution by her- she meshes well with the team she has. Bales and DeSouza kicked our asses, and I think getting them in foul trouble was critical to the Liberty's success, because that meant Atlanta had to go to their bench. This is not necessarily a good thing for Atlanta. Feenstra was good at getting position inside (which, um, she ought to be, seeing as she's built like a freakin' oak tree), but… I don't know what she did to Jess- maybe our Ohioan just instinctively sensed she was from Michigan and reacted accordingly- but the two of them were going at it hammer and tongs. That kept her off the boards, which kinda forced Meadors to go with Lacy and Terry. When Terry came into the game, I thought I heard a sound like a thousand Dream fans crying in protest before being… well, not silenced, because the first thing she did was get a rebound, and that was really the only thing she did of any relevance. Which is about as much as Lacy can say. Or Haynie, really. Or Strother. At least Tamera Young tried to play defense. Granted, this was by kinda accidentally taking Janel's legs out from under her, but hey, at least it's slightly more memorable than nothing. (Strother's best move of the night was before the game, when she accidentally set a brilliant screen to let Haynie get onto the court without being asked for an autograph.)

Janel, as the Libertine once said: leave some awesome for the other girls! When this game got close, she just looked like she'd decided "like hell are we losing this game, get on board, everyone!" and started attacking the lane. I think there was one pass that went directly to a Dream player, but she had some very nifty dimes to Loree and Ashley. Awesome Janel is awesome. And while speaking LOLcat, it seems appropriate to segue to Cathrine, who very quietly put up 18 points, most of them at well-timed junctures to regain the momentum. Lisa came on late, too, and was introduced to the world of pain by DeSouza on her back. OW. OW OW OW. Loree- the three meets with our approval, as does the rebounding, but you still need to get your shit together. Essence barely played- I think that horrid airball sealed her fate for the game. That, and Ashley partook of some of Janel's awesome, or at least some of Janel's showmanship, but mostly the awesome. That three, those rebounds, and that loose ball play that ended with her going all Nastia Liukin on the scorer's table… Ashley Battle is so awesome. You know who else brought the kickass tonight? Jessica. Hell to the yeah, that's what I'm talking about. Boxing out, hitting those shots off the glass, setting not just Screens of Death, but Motherfucking Screens of Death- the most priceless moment of the night was when she bodied up on Feenstra, the whistle blew, and the foul was called… on a very confused Feenstra. That's the Jessica Davenport who was drafted second, that's the Jessica Davenport who was in the pool. If she can work on her footwork and her flexibility, and accept that it is perfectly okay to kick someone's ass, I think we've got a winner. Not Leilani's best night- she had a couple of 'um, wut?' passes that were very uncharacteristic, but I'd rather attribute that to the Dream's ability to get in the passing lane than our inability to notice those rather shameful Dream uniforms that do not go with our color scheme. A few uninspired minutes for Erlana- I'm starting to feel this "go with the hot hand" thing with the young posts. I'm sure they're not, but we didn't really crack the game until the fourth quarter (though I felt she should have put Erlana in with Megan) and Jess was doing rather well- no need to risk discovering that Erlana couldn't deal with Feenstra's size.

The only way that crew could have been worse is if either Enterline had wandered in as scorer or if the scoring crew from the Seattle game was in the house. Oh dear God the jump balls that were no such thing. No, √Črika, you no can haz piggyback ride from a shooting guard. No, Alison, you cannot tackle people just to get the ball. No, Tamera, it is not encouraged that you undercut an opponent. (For that matter, Janel, it is not encouraged that you undercut a smaller opponent, what the fuck, that is completely unchivalrous and we were not amused.) I'd say both sides benefited, but while the calls in our favor tended to be matters of violations, the calls that were more favorable to Atlanta had to do with out-of-bounds and with fouls that were not called. So yeah. Fun times were not had by all. And again, I don't mind my refs being incompetent so long as they're not inconsistent as well. But the combination is absolutely deadly. Then again, Michael Price.

Instead of Liberty Ad-Libs, we had a dance-off with Loree, Cathrine, and Lisa. Loree danced very woodenly- the moves were all right, but the enthusiasm was completely lacking. Cathrine was more enthusiastic, but not so much with the moves. Lisa had both. Lisa won by acclamation. Lisa popped her warmup shirt and kinda smirked at Cathrine when she won.

Disappointingly sparse crowd, but with a Mets-Phils game and the US Open, plus a new team that the shine kind of has worn off of (that has no stars that anyone really knows about and has neither a New York connection or a Liberty connection), I can't say I'm very surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised. I just can't shake the feeling that this isn't the same town it used to be.

It was good to clinch. It was even better to do it and then win on top of it instead of relying on the Chicago loss to put us in. Now we have to work for homecourt- it's not over yet, Patty, so don't let the ladies rest completely on their laurels.


Anonymous said...

I was of the impression that Feenstra was having a lot better time against Davenport. The Liberty didn't have much of an answer to our bigs, but when we only have one scorer there's only so far we can go.

Yes, the refereeing was horrible. It seemed to be horrible on both sides, but why add insult to injury with the T on Meadors? Meadors was merely saying what the viewers were thinking. :D

The Dream hope you beat the Sky on Sunday. That would secure a final spot in the playoffs for the Fever before we have to play them.

Here's a question: why does Erika de Souza wear black nail polish? I've been scratching my head on that one for a long time.

Rebecca said...

Feenstra was doing fine against Jess, but Jess was also doing extremely well against her. I'm only half-joking about Jess instinctively sensing that Feenstra was from the state of Michigan and reacting as any good Ohio State alumna would. But I'm really surprised they didn't go inside more- especially without Miss Jackson, we're very soft on the inside. Might help if you guys had a point guard, though, instead of a midget. ;)

Signs your crew might suck: Bonita Spence is the best of the three.

The Liberty hope we beat the Sky as well. Every game counts for us. Also, I really want y'all to get to four wins, and if we clinch for Indy, maybe Indy will roll over for you.

That is a really good question. Also on the list: does Alison Bales sleep? Ever? Because she looks like she never has.

Patricia S. Rudden said...

Chamique Holdsclaw was at this game--spotted her on our way out. She looks very healthy.