I cannot tell a lie - I am unenthused about the New York Liberty vs. Connecticut Sun playoff series, which tips tonight at 8 p.m. ET at Mohegan Sun (and on ESPN 2).
In a pre-playoffs teleconference, the least talked about series was this one, and perhaps it's because if you've seen any of the five games these two have played against each other this year, well .... hmmmm. But despite the series outcome - 4-1 in favor of the Sun - analyst Rebecca Lobo even mentioned that an advancing Connecticut team might be a surprise of the playoffs. Why? I don't know. Perhaps we've all snoozed through these five games and think anyone advancing will actually be a surprise. Or perhaps New York Fashion Week was just the jolt Cappie Pondexter needed to power her through the playoffs.
(And sorry my dear East Coast - perhaps I've become a hater now that I'm westerly? Or now that I know that the weather's turning and the grouchy people are coming out in the New England area I'm repurposing the blustery cold into icy words? Either way, I apologize. Sort of.)
So to drum up some excitement for this series, I decided to revisit Queenie's Game Notes of Doom! You'll get excitement like double home openers, foul language, anthem analysis, travel tribulations and more. Oh yeah, and lots of basketball. But what really captured my eye was the last line of every installment of GNOD during the three NY/CT games covered this season:
"This team still needs to find an identity, and they need to find it fast."
Game 1: May 19; Sun 78, Liberty 72
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 78-72 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.
"I maintain that our offseason moves positioned us for a tank job, and so far we're doing it right. If we're going to fail, let's fail big time. And our next game is against Minnesota. Weeeeee!"
Game 2: May 20; Sun 92, Liberty 77
Just the Facts, Ma'am: A 16-3 second-half run by the Connecticut Sun put away the New York Liberty 92-77. Tina Charles had 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Sun in their home opener, while Asjha Jones added 20 points. Cappie Pondexter led the Liberty with 18 points, and Plenette Pierson had 16 points to go with a team-high five rebounds.
Game 3: June 15; Sun 97, Liberty 55
Essence Carson's 14 points was the highwater mark for the Liberty, as she was the only New York player to reach double-digits in the 36% shooting night. In stark contrast, the Sun sunk over 50% of their attempts, with six players eclipsing the 10-point mark led by Tina Charles' 20 points and eight boards.
"It was good to see the whole gang again, and even better to see a win, and best of all to see them play the kind of defense that we know they're capable of. This is the kind of team I wanted to see; the result is almost irrelevant. Almost."
Game 4: Aug. 16; Liberty 79, Sun 66
Just the Facts, Ma'am: The New York Liberty started the second half of the season in decisive fashion, with a 79-66 win over the Connecticut Sun. Cappie Pondexter's 24 points led all scorers, while Plenette Pierson made her return to the Liberty lineup with 16 points and four rebounds. Connecticut outrebounded New York 39-30, but committed 17 turnovers. Renee Montgomery's 16 points off the bench led the Sun; Tina Charles was 1-of-7 from the field, but had 12 rebounds.
Game 5: Aug. 18; Sun 89, Liberty 74
A more balanced scoring night was seen from New York, but the Liberty had no chance to overcome their 26-turnover outing. Cappie Pondexter and Essence Carson both kicked in 17 points apiece, but the Sun trio of Tina Charles (23), Kara Lawson (21) and Allison Hightower (20) proved to be a formidable force.
New York backdoored their way into the playoffs, so to speak, besting the Sky while losing. Instead of the Liberty holding the card for a No. 2 pick in the draft, it instead belongs to Chicago. Now it's up to the Sun to see if picking second or playing postseason basketball is the most beneficial outcome for two of their Eastern Conference foes.
Series Preview - wnba.com