Charles pulls Liberty to second straight win

I know, we don't have a picture of Charles facing off against the Shock, but at least we have her in a Liberty uniform. - Photo courtesy of Stewart Small

Just the Facts, Ma'am: A 9-0 burst to open set the tone in New York, and the Liberty never trailed in their victory over the Tulsa Shock, 90-74. Tina Charles led all players with 28 points and 14 rebounds. Anna Cruz added 17 points on 7-7 shooting from the field. Skylar Diggins had 23 points to lead Tulsa; Glory Johnson notched a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Courtney Paris had seven points to go with her 12 boards For nostalgia, stealthy Tigers, blurriness of vision, and relief, join your intrepid blogger, who is up too late for her own good.

Happy Canada Day, readers! We'll be coming to you on tape delay from Madison Square Garden, the World's Most Famous Arena, for tonight's match-up between the Tulsa Shock and the New York Liberty!

If I'm astonishingly well-behaved tonight, or curiously chastened, it's because my mom's sitting right behind me at the game, so I have to behave myself. (Hi, mom.)

They actually had the extra time session from USA-Belgium on the big screen. Poor USA. (Only 1 minute of stoppage time? Really? All that dithering led to 1 minute? That's it? What, were the refs tired of all the dramatic extra time games?)

Tulsa comes out early and Zerg rushes off. I do not approve. You have a plethora of young players, Tulsa, how else am I going to get them?

(Okay, she might not end up right behind me after all. There are people in those seats who are not my mother. I feel slightly at ease.)

Why were we letting someone in Tulsa gear who is not a Shock player shoot the ball on our court?

Just for the record, I have no beef with Tulsa at the moment, but I can't bring myself to wish them anything good as long as they have Princess Twitter and her legion of followers on board the ship.

Chardé, it is really obvious that you got a weave, and possibly a few other hairpieces, when you go from two inches of fuzz to a puffy bun slightly more massive than Angel Goodrich.

Interesting anthem- excellent until the singer seemed to get lost near the end.

Tina Charles seems to have taken the criticism to heart. Just a little. Given that she's got 20 and 8 at the half and everything.

Teresa Weatherspoon keeps taking seats closer and closer to the Liberty bench. The stealth method is not one I've seen tried in coaching changes before, but if anyone were going to try and take a coaching job by sheer force of presence, it would be Spoon.

Glory Johnson will keep taking you right until you make her stop, Plenette.

Mom's right. Where is Chucky Jeffery? (Answer: she was behind the bench in street clothes. Not sure if injured or cut to non-guarantee her contract, or both.)

That felt really, really good. I like watching my team win. I like watching them win big. I like seeing everyone score and everyone get involved. It's a happy feeling.

Theresa Plaisance got time at the end of the game and scored a basket with such stealth that I didn't even notice it until I got home and looked at the box score. I thought it was adorable that she and Shanece McKinney were guarding each other in the last twenty seconds. I imagine they had a short conversation about how it was funny to meet like this. (I imagine a lot of things.) Jennifer Lacy is the perfect veteran for this team- she's not going to do anything spectacular, she's not going to be the star, but she'll set you a solid screen, and she won't be out of position on defense, and when the shot clock runs down she'll keep her cool. She hit two shots to beat the shot clock buzzer in this one. Angel Goodrich is very tiny. I know you know this already, but it bears repeating. She seemed kind of reticent on the court, as if she were more comfortable with her teammates taking the lead. She went flying into the stands after a loose ball, and it took a while to extricate her. Vicki Baugh seemed to be in for defensive purposes, when Fred Williams seemed to want someone a bit more mobile, and/or faster, than Courtney Paris. Jordan Hooper started her time on the floor hot, but cooled a little more. Is it wrong of me that my intitial assessment of Hooper is "oh, she's the player Kelsey Griffin thinks she is"?

Wow. Courtney Paris. Wow. She looks like she's finally put everything together. Well, not everything- her shot is still a work in progress, but for the first time in five years, she looks like the rebounding machine who set NCAA records. She was moving well under the basket, she crashed the boards hard (which I imagine will live in the nightmares of her opponents for years to come), and she was solid on defense. Seriously, I have not seen this Paris since Oklahoma, and I did have the privilege of seeing that immense Paris-Paris-Olajuwon combo live. Glory Johnson is an amazing athlete- I don't know if I like how she handles herself on the floor, but she's amazing to watch. She'll abuse a move until you prove that you can stop it. She rebounded well, though not as spectacularly as Paris (although there is a lot more of Paris to notice). Roneeka Hodges seems to be a stop-gap in the starting line-up, or she just had a bad day. Offensively, she seems to be playing a similar role for the Shock to the role that Alex Montgomery plays for the Liberty- she takes threes, usually from the corner or on an angle. She uses her size well on defense, since she seems to spend a lot of time on smaller players. Odyssey Sims is very fast, but still needs to learn some discipline. Not necessarily a lot of it, because I think that would negatively affect her game, but maybe a little bit to learn when shooting the ball would be negative for her team. She likes to show off her moves, though she wasn't able to finish a lot of them, except her teardrop in the lane. Skylar Diggins definitely looks more comfortable on the court than she did last year, and she seems to have adjusted to the pros, but she still annoys me, and I still hate how many free throws she gets. I'm not going to be able to deal with her for a while. She spent four years annoying me at Notre Dame. She's pretty, and she can play, and that's all you're getting out of me.

Tulsa needs to work on their shooting. Their posts are excellent, and they rebound very well, but they need the outside threat to go with the inside threat.

Yay, basket for Shanece McKinney! She worked hard for that one, too. I like when she gets decent run. Essence Carson came in as a defensive specialist in the second half and even got in a jumper (of course it was a long two, the bane of my husband's existence and Essence's personal bugaboo). I hope this means she's on her way back to full health and strength. DeLisha Milton-Jones took some dicey jumpers, but her long arms were excellent on defense. We got fantastic minutes on defense from Sugar Rodgers, which I'm pretty sure is a phrase that has never been typed before in the history of the universe. She went hard to the floor after loose balls, and though screens shook her loose, she stayed tight on Skylar Diggins for most of the game. Plenette Pierson kept Glory Johnson busy most of the game, and in general stuck to her role as overall annoyer of opponents. I really thought someone was going to get popped by the end of this one, the way they were going at it. Chardé Houston, bless your heart, but we didn't hire you to play defense, we hired you to hit shots, and that means if you get two offensive rebounds on the same play you should hit the basket, kplzthxbai.

Alex Montgomery was quiet today. Kept the defense up and hit her only shot, and of coruse she was in the mix on the boards, but Tulsa did a nice job of boxing her out on most of the ones she usually comes up with. Avery Warley-Talbert got the start, but got fouls quickly and was generally outmatched by the larger, faster Tulsa posts. She was about even with Baugh, but the other ones slayed her. Anna Cruz was scrappy and tough and hit big shots in the paint, and Anna does so many awesome things the only reason I didn't buy her jersey tonight is that there's a 30% discount in the season subscriber ticket book in August. But I love how she moves her feet and how she finds her teammates. Cappie Pondexter stepped up in the second half, getting and-1s by driving the lane, then popping out for the big shot. She's beautiful to watch when she's on. So is Tina Charles, who decided that she was actually going to play center tonight, and thus got lots of shots right around the basket instead of (mostly) taking stupid shots from the perimeter. I love Tina when she's forceful.

Things look like they're starting to click. I like that a lot.

Officials, I can't even, yes, Johnson get a tech for the elbow to Plenette's face, but how was there a foul on Plenette on the play? How does that even logic? I looked at that replay and never saw a foul by Plenette.

Ran into some Johnnies after the game. (Hi, Dukes!) Good to see old friends. Expect to see more on Sunday, assuming the rosters hold as they are.

So. Sunday. We go against the champs with two straight wins under our belt, we can totally make it three, right? Right? :D?

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