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Liberty Still A Work In Progress In 75-67 Victory On Kids Day

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Just the Facts, Ma'am: Janel McCarville's double-double led four Liberty players in double figures as the New York Liberty beat the Washington Mystics 75-67.  Leilani Mitchell had seven steals for New York.  Crystal Langhorne led all scorers with 19 points.

For screaming children, Clarke Stevens's lack of a sense of humor, small dead animals, and more screaming children, join your intrepid and somewhat deafened blogger after the jump.

I'm never having children. Never. Not in a million years. I understand that I'm contributing to the problem by choosing not to be the kind of responsible parent I'd like to see others be, but I don't care. I really can't stand kids for that long.

Especially when ushers are seating them in the wrong sections. No, I don't think the woman in the 1998 t-shirt is squatting, given that she was in the last row of the 200s, at an angle. There's no point to squatting there. (The kids were supposed to be in the next section over.) The emphasis they were putting on the kids irked me. Yes, I understand that it was camp day, but you still shouldn't let the kids run rough-shod over the season subscribers and regular fans who took time off from work to see their team.

We got a shrill kiddie rendition of "God Bless America" to go with our shrill kiddie rendition of the national anthem. And these kids were from a school for the arts. That's the frightening part. (Dear kids in front of me: national anthem means get up and shut up. You fail etiquette forever.)

I nearly died of laughter before the game even started. You know that song about "it's your birthday"? Now, imagine Katie Smith dancing very enthusiastically to it. In front of the other wing players, who are encouraging her. She's a better dancer than I thought she would be.

Ashley Houts made a brief cameo and didn't seem to be completely awful, though she didn't do anything worth remembering. Marissa Coleman looked like she had found her stroke and her groove again, and I was surprised at her rebounding numbers. Matee Ajavon was her out-of-control self, but instead of her shooting being out of control, her whole body was. Her drives were very aggressive, but not very controlled, and the way she dove for loose balls was downright reckless. There are no tackles in basketball, Matee. Chasity Melvin played so badly that I had to look at the boxscore to remember that she was there- the only thing I remember about her was her hair, because I kept thinking she was Nakia Sanford; I haven't adjusted to Sanford's hair being long and Melvin's being short.

The chemistry between Lindsey Harding and Katie Smith on the court is beautiful, and I wish more teams had it. Communication, people. It's a good thing. Whenever they were both on the floor, they were both talking and keeping each other apprised of what was going on. That all being said, poor Smith got her bell rung and her nose broken by a Liberty elbow. There were about four different reports about whose it was, so I'm refraining from comment. I think we got lucky that she couldn't find her stroke, because no lead is safe if Katie Smith can find her stroke. Harding ran a pretty solid game. It intrigues me how much she penetrates- with Currie's slashing tendencies, Ajavon's drives, and Coleman's occasional urges to go to the basket, that gives Washington a much more aggressive and driving backcourt than I think any team in the league has. Yeah, Smith and Coleman- and to a lesser extent the other wings- can open it up from outside, but for the most part, these guards prefer the inside. Beard doesn't change that formula much either.

Nakia Sanford is going to pick up the nickname Sharpie if she isn't careful, because if you share the name of the company that makes Sharpies, you shouldn't throw elbows. I'm just saying that's not going to end well. Foul trouble kept her out of the game for long stretches. Monique Currie was in fine scowl-and-foul mode today, and her drives to the basket were not as successful as she would have liked. Crystal Langhorne's hustle can never be doubted, but I think we somehow managed to expose her lack of size. How we did that when our tallest player on the floor was Sidney Spencer, I don't know, but she did her work very quietly. I come home thinking Langhorne had a bad game, and I look at the boxscore and she had a double-double. I don't know if this tells you more about me or about Langhorne, but I thought I'd share.

Kalana Greene looks like she's been taking flying lessons from Renee Montgomery. She was speeding up the court like nobody's business, and her work on the fast break was critical to the Liberty's success in the second half. Her vertical was also astounding. I think the break did her good. We also had an Essence Carson sighting, and apparently she just needed to get her hands on a piano to find her touch again. She needs to speed up her release a little bit- not everyone's going to give her the kind of time she needs to go into her full wind-up. For the first time in a while, it also looked like her head was in the game defensively, and we need a lot more of that from her. Plenette Pierson did less than nothing, other than commit fouls, which I can assure you made at least two people in the arena absolutely furious with her: Anne Donovan as a coach and me as the sucker who took her in Pick One. Seriously. A couple of those were bad calls, but most of the fail was on Plenette's part. Sidney Spencer did not make any mistakes. She didn't do anything great, but she didn't make any mistakes, either.

Nicole Powell, where are you? This person who put on your uniform after the first two shots went in for you is clearly not you. Please come back and remove the impostor, because otherwise I'm going to assume that you're a fraud. Janel McCarville was apparently waiting for someone to tell her that she was their Pick One player of the day, since she went off and showed a lot of the old aggression that she'd been lacking lately. Taj McWilliams-Franklin looked like she had killed a small animal and put it on her head as a trophy, but I can actually excuse it for once, after seeing the pictures from the charity event the two teams did earlier: that hairdo was never meant to be pulled back into a ponytail. Quiet game, by the standards we've come to expect from Mama Taj, but she did her job, and I don't think it's a coincidence that the opposing centers only mustered up two points between them. Cappie Pondexter put in another of her games where the basic stats look good and a slightly deeper look at the stats shows some troubling tendencies. Her shooting wasn't that great, and she was taking a lot of off-balance shots. She committed some really dumb fouls, too. But I can't say enough about Leilani Mitchell. "Tiny. But fierce!" She was all over the place. Her hands on defense kept us in the game every time Washington made a run or we decided that making shots and passing the ball to our teammates in ways that they could actually receive it. (Seriously, kids. Nicole can't jump and Leilani's not that tall.)

Things to make a mental note of if I ever end up in an entertainment position with a WNBA team: don't tease Clarke Stevens. Maddie made fun of his bald head, and I don't think he appreciated it very much. We hardly got any calls from him all day. Gulbeyan did a better job than he did, and the West Coast fans can tell you that that's probably not a ringing endorsement. Then again, Gulbeyan was the man on the scene when Harding knocked Janel out of bounds and first he called it off on one, then the other, then called the whole thing off and said jump ball. No one was happy with that call.

Racking my brain for anything else interesting that happened during this game, but the only other notable thing I can thing of is the control runs. Not control of the game runs, control of the ball runs. There were stretches when New York couldn't hold on to the ball, and stretches where Washington couldn't hold on to the ball.