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Strong Fourth Quarter Powers New York over San Antonio

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Just the Facts, Ma'am: 11 first-half points from Nicole Powell and 15 second-half points from Cappie Pondexter bookended a 81-75 win for the New York Liberty. Pondexter led the team with 19 points, adding five assists. Danielle Adams led San Antonio with 19 points off the bench, while Becky Hammon and Sophia Young each added 16.

For offensive and offending rebounding, warm welcomes home, empty seats, shockingly patient point guards, and dicey shot selection, join your intrepid and candidly photographed blogger after the jump.

 

Greetings once again from warm and welcoming Newark, New Jersey! If I see too much more San Antonio gear in here, I may end up projectile vomiting on someone, so I apologize in advance if your Game Notes of Doom have an odd smell to them.

Essence Carson looks slightly under the weather, so if she has a lousy performance, that's why. No matter what she says. Danielle Adams is adorably personable, and not sure how to deal with people who want body parts autographed. It's like her job on the team is to run interference. Becky Hammon and Vickie Johnson lingered too long chatting with Kym Hampton, so those of us at the other end of the arena didn't get autographs. We were sad.

What in the nine circles of Dante's Inferno- NO. You do not mess with "Strike It Up". You do not loop it. You do not segue it into anything else. It's the one thing we've managed to keep steady through the yearly game of F- Over A Veteran, through black uniforms and blue uniforms and Foxwoods uniforms, through Darsch and Adubato and Coyle and Donovan and Whisenant. WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN.

At the half, it's 39-34, and I think we've mildly traumatized our starting point guard. No, not Leilani Mitchell, our other sort of short point guard who wears #5. We're three rows behind Nadirah McKenith from St. John's and her family. Nana, if you're reading this, please don't let us get kicked out of Carnesecca Arena. :D?

The ceremony for VJ was short and sweet- one of the MSG people said some words, the luckiest season ticket holder in the world got to present her with flowers, and she made a short speech. There was also a video presentation. So many pictures of young VJ and her unfortunate hair! I miss VJ so much. This whole San Antonio thing... Carol Blazejowski did many reprehensible things as Liberty GM, and made more mistakes than you could put on a "Fire Blaze" sign, but the mishandling of VJ's free agency was one of the worst. The visiting bench shouldn't have been the one VJ was working from.

I love that VJ's jersey in the Ring of Honor is the original jersey, black with the seafoam green panels and the orange piping.  History, we has it right.

That was a relief. I didn't think we were going to pull this one out. And even in the loss, I saw a lot of good things out of San Antonio. Their movement without the ball and their offensive rebounding was remarkable. (Of course, some of the offensive rebounding might have had to do with our pathetic rebounding, but I digress.)

The black is slimming on Danielle Adams, but that's not saying much. Please, for the love of all that is sweet and holy, someone find that woman a jersey that fits her comfortably. She reminded me uncomfortably of Tamika Whitmore with her mysterious insistence on shooting three-pointers when she had a bulk advantage on most of her defenders. The flopping was hilarious. Danielle Robinson looked more comfortable out there than I would expect from a rookie, but other than the drives to the basket, she didn't do much that was memorable. I'm not very happy with Jayne Appel right now. I don't like how she's setting her screens. They should not move. You went to Stanford, Jayne, you should know better. Porsha Phillips wasn't bad, but not memorable. Jia Perkins had a lot of shots go in and out, and a lot of good looks. We got lucky. I'm really not sure why she's not starting unless Hughes is being a stickler for positions. Scholanda Robinson was mostly used on defensive possessions, which surprises me, as I'm used to thinking of her as a shooter. This is what happens when players go to Tulsa- people forget their proper skill sets. She was in so infrequently I didn't even realize she started.

Sophia Young is stealthy and smooth, and I like her despite myself. I'm sitting there thinking "oh, she's not having that great of a game" and then I look up and see that she's got 10 and 5. She was a painful mismatch for Nicole Powell. Ruth Riley wasn't much of a factor, except for the times when it looked like she and Plenette Pierson wanted to get their Detroit Bad Girls on. Tully Bevilaqua, as much as I love her, has lost most of the edges she had over the years. All she has on her side now is old age and treachery, and those weren't enough. Becky Hammon started getting hot later in the game, canning her ridiculous threes and being given more steps than a recovering alcoholic. Seriously. In Soviet Russia, extra steps take you.

Essence Carson didn't play. So I was wrong about her having a lousy performance. (The box score says "injured right eye". Ouch. Sure, you're fine, Essence.) The S*dneys stepped up nicely in her absence. Sydney Colson was the first woman off the bench, providing spurts of offense and moments where she didn't seem to realize she wasn't in the Big XII... X... whatever... anymore. Sidney Spencer, meanwhile, hit her threes, attempted mightily to play defense, and was brutalized by the officials. I mean, don't get me wrong, she rubs me the wrong way, but two of the fouls on her were ridiculous. Quanitra Hollingsworth spent much of the first half with the distracted air of a math major attempting to solve a quadratic equation in her head, and much of the second half with the intent purpose of a math major who successfully solved a quadratic equation in her head and can now focus on basketball. Her foul problems bother me. Jessica Breland was somewhat less than irrelevant. I thought she'd be a better match for Adams, but I was wrong. Alex Montgomery provided pretty solid defense and a little bit of offense, but seemed kind of lost on offense. I guess it is a foreign concept to a Georgia Tech alumna.

Nicole Powell, so nice of you to join us this season! You are, I presume, aware that the season started a month ago, but your sins are forgiven for the early threes and the late foul you drew on Danielle Adams. Well, most of your sins. I'm not so forgiving of the lapses on defense. A Stanford player should be smart enough not to make the same mistake twice. Leilani Mitchell looked like she was in over her head again; neither of the starting guards for San Antonio was a good match-up for her. Hammon's too good and Bevilaqua's too savvy. Cappie Pondexter filled the stat sheet and hit the big shots, but her defensive lapses were glaring. It's easy to notice these things when her feet are bright orange. Kia Vaughn was up and down- solid, but could have played better. Plenette Pierson put together a very nice game without me initially noticing. She kept the stupid mistakes to a minimum, which was refreshing.

I seriously have no idea how we won this game. We let them walk all over us on the boards, we kept passing the ball to places it didn't belong, we missed a lot of easy shots... but when the chips were down, we managed to make things happen. Nicole Powell drew the big offensive foul on Danielle Adams, Leilani had the steal- it all came together, in a truly Liberty way.

Angelica Suffren looked like she had some kind of issue with Spencer. How in the world can a player who's knocked to the floor by the swipe of a buttock be the player who commits the foul? There were a lot of inexplicable calls in the first half, but it evened out a bit in the second. Still, this crew let a lot of travels go unremarked and missed more than one foot out of bounds.

And then we ended up taking the same PATH train back to New York as Sue Wicks, so I spent the entire ride studiously ignoring her so I didn't do something embarrassing or collapse in a pile of fangirl squee. That was a nice finish to the night.