Just the Facts, Ma'am: Tina Charles's 31 points and 12 rebounds powered the Connecticut Sun to a 83-68 win over the Chicago Sky. Sylvia Fowles led Chicago with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
For things people ought to know, somewhat random jerseys, buzzkills, and a lingering lack of Girl Scout cookies, join your intrepid and employed blogger after the jump.
If one more person asks me if I work here, I will not be held responsible for my actions. I have a tiny handbag and a Detroit Shock jersey, WHY DO YOU THINK I WORK AT MOHEGAN SUN? And if I do answer your questions out of the kindness of my heart, do not ask me if I said something completely different from what I said, and then get all huffy that I'm treating you like you just got off the short bus.
(Yes, a Detroit Shock jersey. Cindy Brown. After last week's territorial pissing match with one of the Sun fans, I decided to blow her tiny little mind. Besides, Dominique Canty might appreciate it.)
Lots of Father's Day stuff going on here. On one hand, good for them, on the other hand, my dad's mildly annoyed at him that I blew off Father's Day for a game.
I'm not sure if I like Chicago's approach under Chatman. All of them come out fairly late, all of them come off together, and Erin Thorn runs interference so everyone can get off without being bothered. Carolyn Swords, I think the kid with the sign in one hand and the Sharpie in the other might have been looking for more than a tap on the back of the hand.
We had trouble with one of the stanchions for much of the pregame. The clock was off, and they ended up having to lower it and manually do something. But we have two clocks now, and that's good.
Chicago, I'm sorry, but you cannot work that yellow with this many blondes on your team. It is heinous. It is almost as bad as Erin attempting to dance. Yes, Erin, we see you. Dominique Canty you are not.
Connecticut's up 15 at the half, and I'm really surprised at Chicago. You would think Pokey Chatman would have a better notion of how to use Fowles in the paint, but she keeps bringing her out high. I don't get it. Vandersloot also looks like she might be in over her head. She's relying a lot on speed, and that's not going to do her any good.
And if this woman in the row in front of me turns around and gives me any more dirty looks because I have my computer out, there are a few places I'd like to tell her where to go in language more colorful than a rainbow flag and saltier than an arena pretzel. But we'll probably be going into more detail about that later. Lots more detail. David and Holly are not going to be happy with me.
Well, the posts woke up in the second half, at least offensively, but the Sky's rebounding went absolutely dead. I don't understand it.
So, anthem notes: beautifully done by a middle school choir. I approve this message, but not the people who came in late during it.
I suppose it's a natural reaction for someone who gets into a league, this sudden realization that the players you remembered as young, wide-eyed rookies are now the seasoned veterans at the end of their careers. That's the double-take I always do with Tangela Smith, Ticha Penicheiro- and Dominique Canty. It's odd to see the end of a career when you remember its beginning. She played sparingly, at the ends of quarters and halves, as a veteran presence. Same deal with Erin Thorn, who was in as a spot shooter. There was a hilarious moment in which Cathrine Kraayeveld blew a play and Erin was exceedingly not amused. I think she might have even said "darn!". Carolyn Swords is awfully grabby. I think I remember her being that way at BC, so I'm not surprised, but she's going to have to control that instinct if she wants to continue being a reserve in this league. Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton was their sixth woman, and brought a lot of hustle off their bench. Not always the greatest judgment, but she seemed to be in the right place at the right time a lot of the time.
Cathrine Kraayeveld needs to stop admiring her shot. It's a nice shot, but it's not drop-your-jaw-and-stare gorgeous. Stop admiring and start following your shot, or I'm going to hunt you down and slap you upside the head, and then run very quickly away because you're the 6'4" daughter of a football player. Courtney Vandersloot struck me as a player who will eventually be a point guard of epic win, but for now she's a young point guard who doesn't completely know her roster and the speed of the game, and might be in over her head a little bit. She's fast and she's smart, and she needs seasoning. Michelle Snow, please, enough with the feigned innocence. If you horse-collar tackle a player to the ground, it is a foul. Stop acting like it isn't. I really thought she and Asjha Jones were going to throw down in some good old fashioned UConn-Tennessee hatred. They were going back and forth with the forearms and the pushes. People in Connecticut really need to realize that Epiphanny Prince can hit the three. You'd think they'd have remembered this for some reason. It's like she played at a school that played against Connecticut a lot. I have no earthly idea why she was bringing the ball up at any time that Vandersloot was in the game. I think her decision-making suffered in the second half when she got tired- she played almost the entire game. Sylvia Fowles spent far too much time in the high post and outside the paint in the first half. She was much more assertive in the second half, and more willing to go inside. She was big on deflecting offensive rebounds out to the three-point line- it worked two out of the three times that she did it.
Danielle McCray's shooting touch has cooled since I've seen her last, but I like how aggressive she's being. She's making her presence felt out there, in bruises if not in field goals. Jessica Moore finally got into the game; I'm not sure if this is the first time this season, or just the first time in Connecticut. She, uh, was tall out there. Let's go with that. Kara Lawson got kicked to the bench. I'm not sure if Thibault is disappointed in her, or if he wanted to play matchups out there and have Griffin to match up against Kraayeveld. The 13 points off the bench make me think she didn't like it, though. Someone might want to remind her that she's not playing football anymore and she's a really lousy quarterback. DeMya Walker's... derriere... continues to be a weapon of mass destruction, and she definitely has her uses on the defensive end. There was one play that had us laughing- she drew a charge on a pretty blatant flop, and was then pulled from the game; we joked that she had to go receive her Oscar. Tan White had a really nice defensive play on... I want to say it was Vandersloot or Prince (yes, I know, it's easy to tell the difference, but memory only tells me it was a fast Chicago guard) but wasn't much of a factor offensively.
The scary part is that Tina Charles could have played better. And that's with the 31 points and the 12 rebounds. I'm talking about the easy shots she missed in the first half, and her lackadaisical defense on Fowles. Yes, that means that 31 and 12 isn't the pinnacle of her abilities. That says volumes about her. Renee Montgomery must have been told to stop taking threes; she responded by going on pell-mell drives that Becky Hammon would have thought were ill-advised. I really don't know what to make of Montgomery sometimes. She must be one of the most frustrating players to have on one's team. Kelsey Griffin did some work on the offensive glass. She was mostly out there to toy with matchups and get rebounds, so she must have done her job, but that's not a lineup I'd go with on a regular basis. Kalana Greene had a couple of nice shots, but she wasn't a big factor in this one. Asjha Jones showed up late to the party, being pretty much useless in the first half and surprisingly useful in the second half. (She makes a lousy lasagna these days, though. Too much sauce.)
We sort of realized that this was going to be a questionably officiated game when the name Gulbeyan was uttered. And I'm really disappointed in Felicia Grinter. She's backslid. Running around in bad company, I suppose. There was a really horrible call that was given to Walker as a three-second violation when Snow was wrapped around her like a spider. (Or, if you want to be nerdy, like Gollum trying to get the One Ring from Frodo.) We protested that call quite loudly. Some of the later calls were ridiculous as well, and there was booing. Also, Chatman and Kraayeveld kept up the pretense of making it a game too long.
Special consideration must be given to the sour old bat in section 119, row A, seat 7. When we're cheering for Connecticut, stop telling us to be quiet. No, seriously, who comes to a basketball game at an arena to be quiet? Especially since her actions during the game made it clear that she was a UConn fan, and one of only recent vintage, given how much she applauded Montgomery and Charles, but not Jones. So if you were the cranky old hag telling people to be quiet at a basketball game, here's to you. I hope that if you're ever at MSG, the Prudential Center, or Carnesecca Arena, we have the opportunity to extend to you the same respect for your fandom that you did to ours. Bring earplugs.
(As an aside, this is the second run-in we've had with a local fan in two games, after long periods of peace. Not a good sign. Not a good sign at all. I may no longer be a Scarlet woman, but I still don't like the cult-like followers of the Huskies, and if that's the fan base the Sun want to attract, they're going to scare off a lot of casual fans.)
After the game, we went to our usual stomping grounds and chatted with some friendly Sun fans while working on this year's shirt. The Chicago players were friendly enough, though I think it helped that there weren't that many people there. It amuses me that Cathrine Kraayeveld appears to be another of the "hair dryers are not for me!" persuasion, or at least that's why I assume she came by with her hair wet. (Don't worry, Kraay. You're not the only one. I only use hair dryers for special occasions like proms and weddings.) We also saw a few of the Sun players; either per diem is better than I thought, three people together are stronger than one alone, Sun players get employee discounts, or Jessica Moore doesn't know the local restaurants yet, since she suggested Tuscany to her friends.
I'm surprised at Chicago. I'm surprised at Connecticut. I'm surprised at a lot of things. Mostly I'm very tired, but hey, won on the slots. Life's pretty good when that happens.