Just the Facts, Ma'am: Seimone Augustus scored 18 of her 20 points in the second half to help the Minnesota Lynx snag a road win at the New York Liberty, 75-68. Rebekkah Brunson had game highs of 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Lynx. Cappie Pondexter and Nicole Powell each had 16 to lead the Liberty.
For sleep deprivation, anime references, and lack of teamwork, join your intrepid blogger after the jump.
Someone needs to tell the New York Liberty and the Minnesota Lynx that there's no point in either of them trying to get into the lottery and win Maya Moore, because there's no real way to fit her in with Pondexter or with Wiggins and Augustus. More importantly, someone needs to tell them that before the next time that they play, or it could be extremely ugly.
I apologize in advance for any incoherency in these notes. I'm running on so little sleep that I left my clipboard downstairs and a friend had to find me and hand it to me. And that was four hours and the adrenaline of a game ago. I don't really want to think about my mental state now.
Dear MSG: please stop bringing kids in to do the anthem. The first one was good. The last two have been painful. It hurts to hear the anthem sung badly, and I can't imagine that it does the kids any good to be trotted out in front of several thousand people to perform. Blaze's Sweet Adelines fetish was one of her few redeeming qualities; the fact that we've lost that makes me sad.
Best moment of the pregame: as Charde Houston came off the floor during shootaround, Kalana Greene suddenly jumped on her back and made like an airplane. So if Houston goes on the imaginary injured list with a back problem, it's our fault. Sorry.
The Lynx played a really short rotation tonight. I had forgotten just how much of a... well, "black hole" has unfortunate racial implications even if they're unintentional, so let's say quantum singularity instead... Charde Houston could be. I think she jacked up three straight shots on her first series. Charde, you have teammates, some of whom are quite talented. Passing to them is not the worst idea in the world, especially when you decide to go for the fancy lay-up that proceeds to fall off the edge of the rim. Monica Wright suffers from a slightly less severe form of the problem. I don't want to be the one who tells her that, though. She has very impressive muscles. Hamchétou Maïga-Ba works unsurprisingly well with Rebekkah Brunson. There were points when I was sure that the two of them were running old Monarchs plays. It's not so much that statistically she does anything, but good things seem to happen for her team when she's on the floor for them. That's a good thing for a bench player.
Best wishes and good vibes go out to Candice Wiggins, who did something painful-looking to her ankle in the waning seconds of the game and had to be carried off the floor by the trainer and a teammate- first Lindsay Whalen, then Monica Wright was deputized to take over once they got off the floor. Before that, I thought she was being ignored in the Lynx offense. There are definitely worse shots for Candice Wiggins and the Lynx to take than a lightly-at-best contested corner three, with the defender wandering off towards the paint. Rebekkah Brunson was stupendous on the boards, and her outside jumper was working, at least early on. I wish we had taken her in the dispersal draft. Stupid FFO. But I digress. Lindsay Whalen just doesn't seem to be the right point guard for this team. I don't know whether she hasn't meshed with them yet or they still miss Renee Montgomery or whether there's some deep philosophical difference between her and the rest of the team, but this is not working. She's drawing fouls, but I don't know that that helps the flow of the offense. Nicky Anosike's defensive play on the perimeter continues to amaze me. She has such great hands. The Lynx don't win this game without Seimone Augustus getting her feet under her in the second half. I don't want to toot my own horn, but I had a bad feeling about her only having two points at the half.
I'm not all that sure about the Nikki Blue experiment, but Coach Donovan seems to think it's working. She looks like she's in over her head. So does Kia Vaughn, and it's harder to be over her head. It was nice to see Essence Carson get extended minutes again, even if nothing really worked for her. Kalana Greene appears to have found the rookie wall and smashed into it as enthusiastically and rapidly as she could. I hope this means she'll run through it or leap over it or something. Plenette Pierson was also off her game, though she ran some beautiful... I was about to say routes, but that's a football term, even if she did look like a wide receiver on some of her breaks. And she did her job getting under the skin of the Lynx posts- Brunson's productivity definitely dropped in the second half.
Nicole Powell! You finally decided to join us for the season! So nice to see you, even if you will never win a Miss Congeniality award and your taste in music is execrable. And you could still work on that bit where you chase loose balls instead of watching them go by, and maybe lay off the fumbling. But hey, maybe I'm just picky. <strike>Sailor Liberty</strike> Taj McWilliams-Franklin continues her quest to have a different hairdo for every home game- this time she went with two small knots on either side of her head, similar to Nykesha Sales's legendary Afro puffs, though smaller and not bleached blonde. (Please don't let this give her any ideas.) She really had her hands full with the young posts, and all things considered, she did better than I thought she would. Janel McCarville needs to realize that those wild crazy driving shots that she's absolutely in love with don't always go in. She has to simplify things at some point, go back to basics, and stop getting it into her head that she's Lindsay Whalen (because that's sort of weird when Lindsay Whalen is across the court). Leilani Mitchell was definitely overmatched, and she answered that by getting feistier and more aggressive, chasing rebounds and bodying up on everyone and anyone up to Anosike. That's the kind of answer I like. (That's the kind of answer that <strong>used</strong> to wear #23.) A lot of the turnovers that were credited to her weren't her fault. The passing in general was atrocious, and it was like none of them knew where any of the others were supposed to be. Cappie Pondexter seemed more interested in drawing the foul than finishing the shot. I can think of three lay-ups off the top of my head where she could easily have gotten an and-1, but the shots went off the rim.
Officiating started to get wacky in the third quarter, as usual. I'm starting to wonder just how susceptible to exhaustion referees are. Sure, they're not involved in the physicality of the game, but all that running up and down with no subs and only brief rests can't be good for the brain.
C. Vivian Stringer was in the house, and there was a rumor going around that Ashley Battle had been sighted.
I honestly don't think either of these coaches knows what she's doing with her team. Anne Donovan seems unlikely to care, given that she has no commitments past this season and was halfway out the door for this year. So there are some really dumb play calls. At the end of the game, down 4 with one possession left on the clock, you pretty much have to go for three. Instead, Janel fiddle-farted around with the ball before driving and handing it off to the out-of-bounds marker. Not conducive to winning games much. Cheryl Reeve, on the other hand, has too many chiefs and not enough Indians, if you don't mind me borrowing a somewhat outdated phrase. Whalen's doing her own thing, more or less, which isn't good because she needs to be involved in the overall offense. Brunson and Maïga-Ba have their own thing from Sacramento that they make work. Anosike's doing her own thing on offense. And so's everyone else, pretty much. That's on the coach too. She needs to get them to work together and figure things out.