Just the Facts, Ma'am: The New York Liberty put all five starters in double figures and put behind them a five-game losing streak, defeating the Indiana Fever 87-72. Cappie Pondexter led all scorers with 25 points. For Indiana, Tamika Catchings had 19 points and six rebounds.
For exultation, dueling, sudden screeching stops, a brief run of entropy, and dry rub, join your intrepid and relieved blogger after the jump.
Denise Brooks is not only a good ref, but a good human being. The kid in the "Hot and Cold" contest was woefully lost and going the wrong way, and Brooks took her by the shoulders and guided her in the right direction. I squeed.
"Call Me Maybe" is not quite up to the level of "Thriller", but I do love Plenette taking her screw-up in stride and DeMya's WTF face when Kelly breaks into her routine. It did originally look like Nicole was driving, though, before they showed Maddie. Continuity error? Or was she supposed to be in it and it deeply offended her dignity?
Nothing quite like grown men having a full-fledged beef over in the next section. Seriously, guys?
Father and son bonding moment in the lounge in front of me as I speak. They're playing samurai with a pair of thundersticks.
The rotations are much better tonight, and the three-point shooting has improved. I don't know if we can keep up the shooting, though. And Cappie Pondexter can't keep missing chippies. For a player who likes to drive to the basket and have the ball in her hands, she misses an awful lot of uncontested lay-ups. Leilani Mitchell's playing like someone put her on notice. I swear Kara Braxton's gotten bigger in the last week.
That was not exactly a strong technical on DeMya Walker, but we were all screaming for her to stop talking, so she must have said something in addition to all of that.
The atmosphere in this place is incredible after the win. We're off the schnide! It bothers me a little bit that as a franchise, we're so far down right now that we're celebrating the first win of the season like we're the Tulsa Shock or something, but that's the historical perspective of a spoiled Liberty fan who's seen the Finals.
Thanks to that signal problem, I missed pregame (the occasional Guest Notes of Doom had to send text messages with the scores), but that meant I got to avoid cringe-inducing six-year-old anthem. That's a plus. So I cannot tell you if there were awesome things or sad things during shootaround, but you can probably assume Lin Dunn said something folksy and Katie Douglas hit a three from out of bounds. She does that a lot.
You do have to love Sasha Goodlett and that Georgia Tech defense. If you can't stop them, foul them. She put in work on the boards, but we were prepared for her this time, or at least better able to draw fouls from her. Erlana Larkins looks really good- the only problem with her slimming down is that thanks to the lack of height, I kept mistaking her for Shavonte Zellous. She hustles, but at the end of the day, she's not tall enough to do what she wants to do. Jeanette Pohlen was in the right place a lot of the time on defense and deflected well. She wasn't exactly spectacular, but she was solid. Briann January appears to be the point guard of choice right now, and I think that's a good choice. Of course, my sample is biased, but she seems to work better with her teammates than Erin Phillips did. I could be wrong, for reasons that will be elaborated upon later. Roneeka Hodges hit corner shots. It's what she does. Anything else would probably surprise you. I miss Jessica Davenport. Let me just put that on the table right now. I really miss Jessica Davenport. (Indiana has both Davenport and Larkins now. Mathematically, doesn't that mean they have to give us Becky Hammon or something? Or do we have to sign Chioma Nnamaka first?) I miss her defense, I miss her left-handed hook shot, I miss her long arms swatting shots. She seems to be preparing herself to be the Fever's center of the future.
Erin Phillips needs to not wear high knee socks and a ponytail and a number that ends in 3 until Katie Douglas retires or something. I got the two of them confused one too many times for my liking, which means that I'm not sure what Phillips did in the game. Cut your hair, Erin! It's for the Fever's sake! Tammy Sutton-Brown barely played. When she did, she was mostly a roadblock for her own team (nice defense on Douglas, Tammy), though the one dismissive swat was fairly impressive. Shavonte Zellous drove hard and got rewarded for it. It really seemed like she took more shots than she was credited with, but that might have to do with the free throw attempts. Katie Douglas plays really nice defense. The shooting's pretty too, but I like to watch her hands on defense. And hear her voice. She needs to consider a stage career after she finishes with basketball. She's got impressive projection. When I can hear her in the eighteenth row, that's loud. Tamika Catchings was Tamika Catchings. She went after loose balls as if her life depended on it, she got good rebounds thanks to her athletic ability, she hit all kinds of interesting shots, and she got Plenette Pierson with a leg whip. In other words, business as usual.
Has Kara Braxton managed to put on weight in the last week? Her jersey seems a little tighter. Maybe she's trying to corral those runaway basketballs. Whatever she's doing, it's not working. Hit the lay-ups, Kara. The rest will come with time. Nicole Powell was benched, and deservedly so. She answered, but not on offense. For the first time all season, I felt like I was seeing the "white line" system in action when she and DeMya Walker rotated. She was very busy on deflections, too. I'd like for her to be a better offensive option, but if she actually plays defense, I'll take that. DeMya Walker has cut her hair short, which IMO is not working on her. Basketball-wise, she did her thing. There was a little bit of flopping and a larger bit of defense. She did work on the boards, especially in the second half.
Kia Vaughn, you are not allowed to miss easy lay-ups. If you're as 6-4 as the media guide says, you should be able to hit those shots. If you are not, then you need to be honest so we'll stop blasting you for not hitting those shots. She was a presence in the middle, though, and I think she helped clog things up for the Fever. Plenette Pierson did it all again (and she bakes! And she has great taste in dinner guests! Kim Perrot... /sniffle). An Olympic year is a very unfair time to have an All-Star season, but the way she's played in the last few games has been of that caliber. She got burned a little defensively, and her frustration was clear when Catchings started hitting shots. Leilani Mitchell played like she'd been put on notice that her job was on the line. Three-point bombing Leilani was back, and she brought a little teardrop with her early on that was shades of Tony Parker. (Not quite Mark Jackson.) I don't know if I like her end-game management (or if it's Whiz's end-game management), but I love her commitment on defense and the offense she brought tonight. Essence Carson continues to play well on both ends of the floor. She's just solid. Cappie Pondexter actually played like the Cappie Pondexter from Rutgers. She was hitting shots, she was in her stride, and she was also making good defensive moves- nothing flashy, nothing statistical, but cutting off an angle here and making a deflection there. The percentages still aren't great, and I'd rather see some of those easy shots go down, because if you call for the ball you should hit the shot, but she's getting better.
The fourth quarter really worried me at the end. We let them get too close. We got lackadaisical. We started taking stupid shots that we had no reason to take. That pass out of bounds was inexcusable. A few shots late changed the game and kept us from screwing it up.
Officiating was not bad, though sometimes inexplicable, and there was one call in the circle that was crossed up. Refs still working off the rust and the rule changes, and you'll never hear me say a bad word about Denise Brooks unless she really messes up.
There was some serious beefing going on in the next section over- the aforementioned disagreement flared up again, with one of the combatants getting into it with another season ticket holder. Security got involved. I don't know the whole story, but it was distracting.
After the game, season subscribers and people who anted up something like $60 got to see Kate Clinton perform. I think she was less than comfortable with the material- she didn't get into a groove, IMO, until she got away from the sports stuff; when she was trying to do a sports routine, she kept circling back to the same line or two and rebooting. Whether trying to go the sports route was her idea or the Liberty's, it was not a good idea.
Dinner was at the Dinosaur Barbeque, which I highly recommend. However, even if you do spot Tamika Catchings having dinner, please do not harass your fellow diners. (I thought I spotted Shannon Bobbitt with her, but I'm not sure.) Davenport and January were also there, as was Leilani. It makes sense- it's nearby, it's less expensive than Brick City, and it's good.
In conclusion, WIN!, LOL, NOM.