Just the Facts, Ma'am: A 24-9 third quarter and a 44-26 rebounding edge gave the New York Liberty a 91-74 win over the Tulsa Shock in their final game of the regular season. Plenette Pierson led the way for New York with 19 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Ivory Latta's 16 points and six assists off the bench led Tulsa.
For distractions, misplaced small forwards, expressiveness, reincarnation, shirts in multiple sizes, and Cheerios, join your intrepid and photographed blogger after the jump.
Once again, thanks to the help of the Liberty and the Twitters, we got our seats upgraded, this time to center court and seven rows up. These are nice. I envy whoever has them in Tulsa, though. Ivory Latta's facial expressions are priceless, and you get a full range of them.
Glory Johnson, think long and hard about whether it is a good idea to start beef with Plenette Pierson, who's so proud of her role that she's @DaEnforcer33. Reconsider your life and the choices you have made in it, or Plenette will likely rearrange your face. Likewise, Temeka Johnson, maybe stepping to Nicole Powell is not the smartest thing you have done in your life. I like the chip that Tulsa has on their shoulder, but it might get dangerous if they're not careful.
Kara Braxton has been very frustrating so far. And you can see it on her face when she loses the play. It's a strange sort of blank bewilderment. Like a lost puppy, or the mouse in the maze that's just taken a wrong turning towards the cheese. She just zones out and doesn't know what to do next.
Here in the third quarter, we had an issue with the ball during one of Cappie Pondexter's free throws. I think some air got out.
Riquna Williams was an absolute microwave in the first half. She's still too much of a gunner for her own good, but when she's on, she's a game changer.
Kym's anthem was a little too over-stylized for me, and she's starting to lose more of her breath control. For the first time in years, they didn't have the team gathered around her as she sang, either. I know there are going to be people who kvetch about it, but I'm glad. It was appropriate when her former teammates were on the team, but she never played with any of these Libs. When are the Libs going to kiss and make up with Tari Phillips already?
I approve of the Essence Carson bobble-head, though I still think it should come with removable goggles.
Props to the Tulsa fan in the custom jersey. Digital font means as old-school as Tulsa can get, and that's a lot of losing she would have had to put up with.
Kara, I know the huddle is not terribly relevant to your interests, but if you're going to spend it playing the shuffle game, at least get the right ball. Don't think I didn't see you flash that single finger at Kelley.
Sitting and waiting for the perfect attendance photo, and already you can tell the good old familiar Blaze-era cluster is going on. Melissa tells us that there's no wristband necessary. One guy in a polo doesn't know what's going on. The other guy in the polo hands us wristbands and tells us to sit in section 19. Blonde lady tells us that section 19 has to be cleared and everyone has to move to the right or to the left. Meanwhile, they're holding some kind of post-game shooting event for a group. Seriously, this is Blaze-era ignorance and idiocy. Get your facts straight, guys. We need someone's organized mother to keep everyone properly herded. They're missing even the basic concepts of crowd control.
Oh my goodness, we've lost Nicole Powell. You know it's bad when the team is leading the call to get her out here. Seriously, this is embarrassing. She just facepalmed as she came down the stairs... how did she even end up up the stairs?
Seeing Chante Black come into the game for Courtney Paris was definitely a change of pace. Her length did sort of annoy us when she was on defense. She wasn't good for much else. Scholanda Dorrell was in long enough to do a couple of stupid things, but that's about it. Riquna Williams has no fear of shooting, and sometimes that can be a good thing (when she hits) and sometimes that can be a bad thing (when she goes on a wacky streak or odd misses). That's what she's most effective at. I think most of the rebounds she ended up with were long ones. Courtney Paris used her size effectively against Kara Braxton, though disappointingly without any sound effects. But for the most part, she was a space filler. Jennifer Lacy did tend to do things that got my attention, whether they were good like the block she had on Nicole Powell, or bad like some of her less intelligent fouls. Ivory Latta played really well, even setting aside the fantastic facial expressions we got to see out of her. She made some very good plays. I'm glad she's found her niche and her groove.
Temeka Johnson played pretty stupid today. I liked her aggressive drives to the basket, but I didn't like her stupid fouls or her stank attitude. She deserved the technical, and might well have gotten herself another one if her teammates hadn't interceded. Kayla Pedersen barely played. Kloppenberg started her at center but then mostly used her as a rebounding switch. Maybe it's that she's still working her way back, or maybe he was thinking about the game against Indiana. I'm not sure. Glory Johnson really needs to work on her free throw shooting, though one of them wasn't really her fault. I like her moves to the basket, and I want to like that she has no fear, but at the same time I'm not sure that she shouldn't have a little fear. Hands to the face against Plenette Pierson doesn't generally end well. She's going to be a star, but she does need to have some of her rough edges filed off. Roneeka Hodges went bombs away from three, and it was not a good plan for the Shock. I think they were trying to counter the hot shooting from beyond the arc for the Liberty, but it just wasn't there, and at some point it might have been a good idea for her to just stop. Amber Holt did not impress me. I mean, I'm not sure what she was supposed to bring to the table, but whatever it was, she didn't.
Gary Kloppenberg looks like a younger, lighter-haired Van Chancellor. I half-expected him to start throwing candy to the fan in the red Tulsa shirt. I really like what he's got going on with the Shock. They react very quickly on defense, and had a couple of beautiful breaks on offense- I still don't know who threw Williams that pass that left everyone flat-footed.
Alex Montgomery got the bulk of her run late in the game when Essence Carson left with an injury. She made the most of her time. There's not much I can say about four minutes, other than it maybe should have been more. Kia Vaughn seems to have shaken off whatever malaise had gripped her for the previous month. She looked much more aggressive and into the play than she was before, and as a bonus, she brought her midrange jumper along for the ride. Yay, Kia! I love it when she smiles. Leilani Mitchell didn't take advantage of her height advantage on Temeka Johnson and Ivory Latta, and when that's a sentence that gets typed so rarely, she really needs to do it more. I like her, but she's starting to seem less and less useful as the season wears on. How long did we re-sign her for? We got to hear DeMya Walker call defensive signals, and she sounded like she was on the right track until Williams hit a three. Her age has become more apparent as the season's gone on.
Before the game started, Cappie Pondexter announced she had signed a three-year contract extension. And then she went out and had herself a lousy shooting game. She filled the other stat columns nicely, but her shot selection was questionable. Plenette Pierson got off to a slow start, and she has to realize that the reason teams keep leaving her open for long twos and threes is because she can occasionally hit that shot, but not consistently. She found her stride more in the second half, going towards the hole and ripping down rebounds. Essence Carson demonstrated fancy footwork and impressive control of her dribble, hanging on to the ball twice when she was knocked down. She was hot in the first half; there were points where she was the only offense we had. Kara Braxton couldn't get much of anything going, and she kept getting distracted out of the play. I swear, I caught her watching the entertainment twice. With Kia getting back in her groove and Kara looking scattered, we might see a change in the starting lineup for the playoffs. Nicole Powell receded back into approximate irrelevance.
The third quarter was the key. Everything clicked. The rebounding was nice too.
A lot of contact in this one that went uncalled, and a really blatant out-of-bounds on Glory Johnson that the refs missed, but otherwise not too bad. They did a good job of keeping order after Temeka Johnson lost her head.
The dance performance before the game scared me. I'm not even sure it's legal to view that kind of movement by prepubescent girls in many states.
We sat around some very cool people. I still love my neighbors and my section, though.
I'm not as psyched for the postseason as I know I should be. I'm sort of grateful the season's over. Is it November yet?