Monday, July 27, 2009

July 26th, 2009: Phoenix at New York

Phoenix Mercury 94, New York Liberty 88

Diana Taurasi puts on a show, and the Liberty once again forget how long a game lasts.

And once again things started off so well and then went to hell in a handbasket without even making a pit stop. There are four quarters, guys, please to be playing all of them?

One of my mom's friends arranged for a few folks to come watch the early shootaround two hours before tip, and since some of their buddies would be late, they let me come in with them, so that was cool. Mom tried to get Janel to give her her big diamond earrings, but Janel wasn't having with that. The kid who did the intros today kept screwing up Cathrine Kraayeveld's last name in practice, and we corrected him each time. The second time, Ashley looked at us like she thought we thought she was Cathrine, and seemed very puzzled. I can't say I blame her. I'd be puzzled if someone mistook me for someone who looked nothing like me. Ashley went off to talk to Diana and Cappie for a while. I'd give my eyeteeth to know what went on there, given that any time with AB is the Happy Funtime Hour. Pettis went off to dance with the Lil Torches as they practiced their routine. Penny Taylor and Nicole Ohlde were both running dribbling drills, just up and down, not in regular warm-ups.

Large crowd, very mixed in terms of loyalty. A lot of the people near me were cheering when Phoenix did good things. Of course, the Cagers were in the house... which confused me, given that we ALWAYS have two Rutgers players in attendance, but wtfever. Lots of tall blonde people there, too. Taylor knew one of them, but the other didn't ring any bells, and she was daaaaamn tall, something like 6'6" in flip-flops. Spotted a few current RU players- Sykes, Ray (I think?), someone else. Spoon, of course. And some woman who looked like Mazzante trying to do a Taurasi impersonation, or maybe like Taurasi trying to do a Mazzante impersonation.

The anthem did not suck, and the power was great. Better than the last time I heard this guy do it.

Diana fucking Taurasi. Diana fucking Taurasi. Holy shit, you see Diana fucking Taurasi? She plays with such ease that it's unnerving. It's like she flips a switch and goes into another gear. We were lucky she only scored 34 points. If Gaines had left her in longer, or her teammates had found her the other times she was open, she might have hit 50. And the way she went up for some of those rebounds was unbelievable. Cappie was off- her shots didn't look right and she seemed a step slow. Tangela Smith was mostly a non-factor, though she hit a big shot late in the game- she was playing more out on the perimeter than I would have expected. Le'Coe Willingham will never be the star of her own team, but she is the perfect complement to a team with a big star or two. She's good enough and determined enough to make things happen while defenses aren't paying attention to her. She killed us on the inside yesterday. Killed us dead. Temeka Johnson has incredible vertical- she gets up amazingly well for a woman of her size. Her shot seemed off, but again, Phoenix didn't really need her to score.

Ketia Swanier is fast. Holy crap, is she ever fast. There was one fast break where a layup was almost guaranteed and she got back and broke up the play. Kelly Mazzante continues to be a non-factor. DeWanna Bonner has a very nifty knack for squeezing herself into tight spaces for rebounds. I think most of her boards were offensive off her own misses, but she just kept going back up until she got it in or got fouled. Brooke Smith looked awkward out there, but after the first two times Kia Vaughn went around her, she figured her out and was able to get in position to change Kia's shots- not by blocking them, but by forcing Kia to shoot differently.

That particular shade of pink is very flattering to a woman of Nicole Ohlde's coloring. Penny, of course, looks fabulous in anything she wears, but that black and white thing works especially well for her.

Look, guys. Y'all do know Shameka's been going non-stop since Wednesday, right? You could maybe give her a little help? 'Cause Essence wasn't exactly lighting it up, and occasionally making some really dumb plays. At least Janel and Loree were both rebounding, even if they couldn't throw it in the ocean. I spent a lot of time crossing myself because Janel was going to the line. Cathrine set some nice screens- not Screens of Death, but acceptable screens. It's really frustrating how she can't hit a layup, though. Loree either needs to fess up that she's hurt or get her ass in gear, because she has no sense of urgency at all. One of these days she's going to actually cost us a game, and that'll be the end of it.

Tiffany looked really good. Kia started off well, but she kept trying to do the same thing, and when your defender is from Stanford, she will eventually figure out that you're doing the same thing. Leilani would probably have had a better game if That Moron hadn't kept taking her out whenever she got both herself and the team into a groove- you think I'm joking, but I'm not. Ashley barely played, which was confusing. Spencer got into the game, but I can't remember a damn thing she did because I'm too wrapped up in her ritual of getting ready to check into a game. She wears entirely too much.

The refs were bad, but they were bad on both sides. Poor Willingham almost got her head torn off near the end of the game with no call. For the most part, they let them play, but we didn't take advantage of that.

It was Kids Day, but they really didn't go deep into that- they just had one of the Lil Torches do the intros, a couple of baby photos (OMG Essence was so cute!), and one timeout event with fathers and daughters. Does that mean the team has gotten cheaper?

For as frustrating as it was, though, this was a better game than the All-Star Game. I had a lot more fun.


Patricia S. Rudden said...

Any idea why Larkins hasn't played in such a long time? You'd think they'd put her in just to give somebody a rest once in a while.
BTW, this is the blog I go to first during the season. Always insightful and screamingly funny.

Rebecca said...

No clue. I honestly have no idea what the braintrust- and I use the word so loosely it's about to fall out of the sentence- is thinking as regards her, or as regards why they kept her over Jessica Davenport. Right now the only thing I can think of is that if they used Jessica to anchor that end of the bench instead of Erlana, people might come flying off the other end, but even that's a questionable theory- there's only about a ten pound difference between them.

Thanks for the compliment! Tell all your friends! :D

And talk about a small world- I came out of Hunter too- English major, concentrated in creative writing; minor in history. I suspect you could have guessed that from my writing style, though...

Pat said...

The patience I manage to have this year for the Liberty has been built up slowly over the course of the past several seasons of watching the Hunter Hawks--CUNY champs in 2004, and on a slow slide south ever since. But I go to their games anyway--most home, and even some away when they're not too hard to get to--and they've come to expect me there.
I keep trying to bring the team to a Liberty game but maybe this year it's just as well we didn't get it together. Why let them see a bad example? (But the assistant coach is at every Liberty game. Guess she's into pain.)
And yes, your Hunter mind shines through. I knew there was a reason I enjoyed your blog so much. That unmistakable edge . . .

Rebecca said...

I went to a few games. I was there the year the tournament was at Baruch and we beat CSI on their flubbed inbounds and Jen... was it Czirr? I know it was one of the three or four Jennifers on the team that year who hit the game-winning free throws. Good times. This is maybe the second or third time I've had this kind of crossover- I ran into Coach Meadow and one of her players at Radio City in 2004.

I remember dorming on the same floor as some of the players my freshman year, and I couldn't give away tickets to a UConn-St. John's game... during the Taurasi era. *sigh*

Patricia S. Rudden said...

I wasn't at that game but I think it was Czirr who made those crucial freethrows, from what I've heard. She was my alumni mentee during her junior year and is now asst coach for women's bball at CCNY, where Jackee Meadow is currently the first female athletic director in the college's history. Of course that team has been improving a lot and is becoming a problem for Hunter.
The Hawks have some intriguing new players but they can't get it together (sounds fa-milyah!).
Were you an honors student in the dorms?

Rebecca said...

I was double-checking my spelling as much as my Jen. ;)

At least the Hunter tradition is continuing... it's just continuing at another school. Maybe we can look at it that way? Kinda like Nancy Darsch is doing okay in Seattle and Richie Adubato was one of the few coaches not to screw up too badly in Washington?

I was in the CUNY Honors College my freshman year, but I failed out spectacularly. Living in the dorms, while it did wonders for my social life (as in, I had one for the first time), was not conducive to buckling down and studying, and much of the nonsense related to the program, especially since I was in one of the first couple of classes, was not helpful or terribly educational. I do miss the iBook, though. That was a beautiful little computer, and slim enough to take to games- I wrote all my 2003 notes at the actual games with it, and the poor dear almost got its monitor knocked off by a errant pass during All-Star open practice.