Friday, July 31, 2009

July 30th, 2009: Washington at New York

Washington Mystics 78, New York Liberty 75

This team is going to kill me one of these days. I just hope I die happy.

There are only so many times you can write the same intro before you start to notice a trend, or at least get bored with announcing that this team is going to kill you. But I swear, they really are.

It did not help things that I left the house late and then had to go back for my ticket, especially when there was some creepy dude ogling me outside the fruit stand. If he'd been there when I came back down the drive, I'd have been even later for stopping and cursing him out in my vulgar and ungrammatical Spanish. But then, that might have worked out all right.

Or it might not have, because Kate didn't show up and Ali didn't object to me sitting in her seat. If you have not met Kate, and especially Ali, the mayor of MSG, you haven't had the true Garden experience. Oh, yes. I may have mentioned before, but Ali and Kate and their guests sit in the first row behind the Liberty bench. Well, they actually moved the section over slightly, so it's behind the Liberty media people, which isn't the same at all. It's something you should do every season, but just once. I know, for myself, I can't take it as a steady diet. There's so much that I miss because everything's in the way, and that's not including the newfound hazard of... do we call her the Empire State Building now? Instead of the Space Needle?

Nice anthem- instrumental, saxophone. Essence didn't look impressed, but that's because Essence looks like she stores her emotion, personality, and humanity in a box before she goes out onto the court.

Lots of kid stuff, given that it was "Garden of Dreams" night. Kid announcer, kid doing the ceremonial tip, caterwauling girls at halftime, and an auction. I still don't understand the focus on autographed items. Those just don't have the same cachet in the W.

Is it just me, or does it seem that the survivors of the first round of 2004 have turned it up to 11 at the end of last year and through this year? Whalen's fallen off the pace this year, but Taurasi, Powell, Hoffman, Sista Christon, Brunson when she's healthy- and of course, Alana Beard, who went the hell off on us tonight, oh dear God. She left quite an impression on the guy next to me, who started rooting for her quite openly. This should not happen behind the Liberty bench. Monique Currie earned that "Scowl and Foul" nickname a couple of times, but I found the smirk more annoying than the scowl. She's a master at drawing contact, though, I have to give her that, even if some of that contact should be called offensive. Langhorne's "I am one with the basket" Zen routine seems to be working when it comes to the boards. (No, seriously. I was counting Mystics and had to do something like three sweeps of the halfcourt to notice Langhorne pressed up against the stanchion like she was trying to go into it, or communing with it.) Harding wasn't all that last night, but she only needed to be some of that with what she was getting from Currie in the first quarter and Beard all night. Her speed still takes my breath away. Melvin got into foul trouble, but I think I remember a big block and some savvy post play.

Oh, God, Nakia Sanford. Oh, God, make it stop. For whatever reason, Janel just could not defend her, or do anything with her. She killed us dead in the third quarter. Forget the rest of the comeback, forget the shitty foul non-calls, the inability to box out or defend Sanford destroyed us. Coleman still doesn't look like she's all the way back from the injury- I'm thinking it's affected her shot slightly. I had the feeling it was going to be a long night when Kristen Mann hit the three. (She was trying to earn back some brownie points with fans by going the extra mile on photos.) Most of the other bench players didn't get in for very long. That might have disappointed the RU fans who were cheering for Ajavon, but I can't say I'm sad to see her slip to the bottom of the rotation.

Some game by Janel, huh? That's the idea. GO TOWARDS THE HOLE. Her defensive game left something to be desired, but at least she was producing on the offensive end. She was mixing up her shots nicely, too. Shameka waited until the second half, then it was like BAM! and I saw an All-Star. She just kept raining threes like it was going out of style. Tiffany got the start for Cat, which looked really smart when she scored the first points for the Liberty, but I don't know that this was the right team to make the change against. Essence didn't play long enough for me to get any idea of how she was, but I don't think I would peg that as one of That Fucking Moron's bad moves. Loree didn't suck, which is about where my benchmark is for her this season. If she gets herself back together, I'll set it higher.

Cathrine looked so awkward with the bench players! She didn't know the traditions or anything. It was quite endearing. Benching her seems to have lit a fire under her, but I don't know that it was completely performance related, given that she always seems to be the player on the floor who doesn't get a call in her favor- she had the heating pad on a couple of times. Kia played well- brought power to move Sanford out of her comfort zone. Spencer was in, but I don't remember if she did anything. Ashley Battle makes things happen. She was a big part of the comeback with shots and rebounds and steals. Leilani wasn't bad, and that's all I ask of her. And- OMG, you guys, we had an Erlana Larkins sighting! And she played with spirit and heart and went to the basket! WHAT THE FUCK TOOK SO LONG?! And then she got benched again and that was the last we ever saw of her, because That Fucking Moron's rotation involves waiting for a player to do something smart and then taking her out.

This is the move that I will swear on my honor as a former Girl Scout finally got Coyle the pink slip. Specifics of time and fouler are based on the play by play, but the generalities of the play are etched in my memory. 7:11 left in the fourth, Chasity Melvin fouls Loree Moore in the act for two free throws. Loree hits the first. Coyle calls timeout. Let me repeat myself. Coyle calls timeout between her own player's free throws. Loree comes back to the bench with a look on her face like she genuinely thinks Coyle's lost her marbles. The timeout concludes. Loree, successfully iced, misses the second free throw. Basic coaching fail. You call a timeout between the opponent's free throws, not your own!

Michael Price sighting, oh, joy. Cathrine is really going to have to do some Mery Andrade/DeMya Walker shit to get some respect from the refs, isn't she? Yeesh. I don't- I just- I don't care anymore. Fine. Fine, refs. Suck as much as you want. You're not going to change and I'm not gonna be able to change you.

It was a hell of a comeback. At least we've improved, sort of. We put the third quarter first this time, giving us more time to get out of the hole. Now, if we could just get to playing a full forty minutes...

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