Just the Facts, Ma'am: The New York Liberty got out to seven and eight-point leads repeatedly in the game, but the Connecticut Sun fought back every time, eventually taking a 78-73 win at Madison Square Garden. Tina Charles had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead a balanced Sun attack that put five players in double figures. Cappie Pondexter's 19 points led the Liberty, with Plenette Pierson adding a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
For shameless ogling, stupid point guard plays, home sweet home, surges, ebbs, flows, and mouths that ought to be washed out with soap, join your intrepid and head-desking blogger after the jump.
There's no place like homecourt. There's no place like homecourt. There's no place like homecourt.
And I didn't even have to click my heels to do it. That's good; my sneakers are in such disrepair that if I tried it they might fall apart on me.
Your intrepid blogger will be coming to you on tape delay from Madison Square Garden, the World's Most Famous Arena and the real home of the New York Liberty. Sorry, Cory Booker; you seem like a pretty cool guy and I know you've gotta rep your city, but we're the New York Liberty, not the Newark Liberty. And it'll be good to be home, though if the Liberty play like they did in the preseason, it's not going to seem so good.
They allowed season ticket holders to take a tour of the new Garden if they wanted, or to just wander around and go to their seats if they wanted.
Donkey of the day to whoever in MSG security decided to disallow autographs at the opposing tunnel. Whether it was the guy chalking the seats and just trying to assert his authority, or someone above him, come on, man. Chay Shegog is remarkably patient with technical difficulties.
DeMya Walker knows how to work a crowd. It's a good thing.
It's 41-33 New York at the half, and there's a lot of talking and a lot of things that are just this side of dirty. The four technicals overstate the matter, though. The Sun's three have all been for language, while Plenette Pierson threw a 'bow. Zachara is probably tired of watching her mother hit the floor, though; DeMya got the worst of some knee-to-knee contact and was writhing for a while.
The anthem singer's voice cracked, and she seemed to have forgotten she had a microphone. You don't have to project if you have a mic.
Halftime is the Super Bowl halftime a la Maddie and the various Torches. LOL WUT.
I love the new video this year. I think the segue from practice footage to game action works very well with the theme. Ready, steady, go indeed!
I've had to stop myself from fangirling at Mel Greenberg a couple of times. I may not be able to again.
Kelsey Griffin, it is not couth to sling your leg out into traffic and then flop like you got fouled. She was defensive, and that was it. Renee Montgomery came off the bench, and I am inclined to believe that it was because Thibault wanted either a more defensive lineup, or one less wild. Her speed continues to impress, but sometimes it gets the better of her. Where did all this offense come from for Allison Hightower? It's not the kind of thing I expect from an LSU alumna not named Seimone Augustus. She also played very sticky defense. It cost her at the end of the game, and I hope she's all right. Mistie Mims provided veteran leadership (even if Montgomery got the tech despite her intervention), so-so shooting, solid rebounding, and a couple of nice screens. I forgot how useful a piece she was; she reminded me very much of her Mistie Williams days in Houston.
I'm not crazy, right? Kalana Greene pronounces her first name kah-LAY-nuh, right? Long A? Like Alana Beard? The announcer kept referring to her as kah-LAH-nuh, and at one point he emphasized it so intently that I was sure it was a deliberate mispronunciation. Either that, or we've been saying it wrong for years. In any case, she played the passing lanes quite well. Danielle McCray hit a couple of shots in the first half that were worth noting, and then there were fouls and she sat down. I kept forgetting Kara Lawson was out there, except when some rocket scientist decided to leave her open for a three. This is a bad plan. Asjha Jones was annoyingly stealthy at times, and was more than a match for Plenette. Tina Charles is too good.
I love watching Mike Thibault play metaphorical chess with substitutions. I also love his occasionally over the top reactions. We could hear him barking from the 18th row. I mean, I can understand insult heaped on top of injury when he was announced as Tom Thibault during the tech call, but he's gotta switch to decaf.
Essence Carson, if you do Tari Phillips's show-the-ball trick one more time, I'm going to start a petition to change your number to 24. Stop attempting to hand the ball off to the opposing team. Good things did happen when she was in the game, but I'm far too hung up on some of the stupid plays to work with her on them. I'm sorry, Essence. Kelly Miller was announced as the starter, but was yanked right before the team took the floor. No idea what that was about. In any case, she ran a decent offense, but the tape on her calf worries me, especially when combined with her age. She looked distressingly slow, and of course, there was that gods-awful what-was-that-I-don't-even that I've blocked out of my memory from the corner that could have been the tying shot but was nowhere near anything vaguely useful. Kia Vaughn came off the bench and really played well, though she had a couple of blank moments. DeMya Walker looked good, too. We'll see how she is tomorrow with a slightly dinged up knee and a back-to-back situation.
Leilani Mitchell, do not hit people in the face. It has a tendency to overshadow your solid passing and valiant attempts to defend post players. I still think she's better for this team until Kelly Miller gets more used to the system and her teammates. Kara Braxton was her usual frustrating, athletically-bipolar self; one second she was pulling down strong offensive rebounds and getting shots in off the glass, the next, she was staring at rebounds as they went by her and missing bunnies. And I'm sorry, but as a well-endowed woman, I hurt every time I see her bouncing. "D-D-D-Defense!" does nto mean defense with DDD cups. Better bra, please. Nicole Powell had a couple of decent tips and wasn't as horrible on defense as she could have been, but she needs to be more of an offensive option. Not even more of a consistent option, but an option at all. Plenette Pierson mixed it up as always and got it going from the right side. Cappie Pondexter tried to take over the game in the fourth quarter, but we need someone to support her, and she needs to stop taking stupid off-balance shots. She can't do everything.
The officiating was... interesting in the first half. There was a lot of ticky-tack stuff called on Connecticut, and I can understand why they were ready to explode. It evened out a little more in the second half, though.
I say this as journalistically and objectively as I can: daaaaaaaamn, Kym Hampton can get it. After the makeover and such, she's down even below her playing weight, and she knows she looks good. Also, I loved her dress.
J.R. Smith brought his daughters, kitted out in Liberty gear. Iman Shumpert was filmed so as to avoid any shots of his injured knee. Larry Johnson was also in the house. They were down the row from Anne Donovan. Coco Miller was a few rows behind them (poor Kelly caught an awkward moment when one fan asked her about playing against her sister this year).
They don't even bother announcing Sue Wicks anymore. Happened to see her while the dance team was doing the rally song. "L-I-B-oh, Sue got a haircut- E-R-T-Y"
The new Garden is growing on me. I skipped the tour, but apparently my fellow subscribers were less than thrilled with the lack of Liberty in the new decorating scheme. It still looks very corporate and cold, but it's starting to develop a little bit of self.
This team still needs to find an identity, and they need to find it fast.