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Liberty See Stars As San Antonio Pulls Away Late

Just the Facts, Ma'am: The San Antonio Silver Stars put three players over 20 points and shot 55.1% in a 94-81 win at the New York Liberty. Jia Perkins's 24 points led all scorers. Becky Hammon contributed 23 points and six assists, and Sophia Young had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Silver Stars. Essence Carson's 25 points and four steals led the Liberty, with Cappie Pondexter adding 23 points and eight rebounds.

For favors, AWB, more injuries, hot pants, martial arts, a banger, and unexpected offensive rebounding, join your intrepid and resigned blogger after the jump.

Oh, the New York Liberty. I've so rarely seen a team do so much to be in its own way. We're lucky we're not down fifteen or more, the shots that have rimmed out or off for San Antonio.

The anthem singer was... vibrato. I've never heard melisma abused so badly in my life by someone so incompetent at it.

Thanks once more to the season ticket reps, this time our very own Melissa, for getting us in early. Cappie Pondexter and Nicole Powell are both hard to get, so this goes a long way towards finishing off the jersey I want to frame and hang up. We're rough on Melissa, poor unlucky wretch that she is to be stuck with us, so I want to let her know that we appreciate the things she does for us.

There's a lot of support in the house for San Antonio- but then, the Silver Stars showcase two of Blaze's greatest sins, three if you hated the Hammon trade. Ray can attest to this- I mentioned to him that I was watching the Liberty warm up, as Vickie Johnson worked on a drill with Becky Hammon and Shameka Christon.

I have to say, the tropical Skittles color scheme doesn't work on uniforms, but it works nice on Cappie's sneakers.

Not that the team staff are split or anything, but Louie from the Timeless Torches sat out this game in his Christon jersey; the camera folks have done a nice job of finding Hammon jerseys; the PA announcer almost slipped into doing Mike W. impressions of Christon, Hammon, and even Danielle Robinson (it almost came out the way the PA guy used to do Crystal Robinson's name). Not that this remains an awkward situation or anything.

We're thin in the post and just plain stupid, I swear. Too many stupid passes, too many bad shots, too many slips on defense. San Antonio knows how to exploit this, and there's a lot of #25s and #20s in the crowd waiting for it to get ugly.

Neither Plenette Pierson nor Kia Vaughn are in uniform for this one- Plenette looks very summery in her short skirt and tank top, while Kia's gone with the leggings in Liberty blue. Seriously, what is with Liberty posts and hot pants? This goes back to Kelly Schumacher!

It was a great, pulse-pounding 35 or so minutes... and then the wheels came off and we ran out of gas. My poor injured team.

Ziomara Morrison played briefly in the first half and impressed me with a pretty spin move. (And with her fashion sense after the game. I'm a sucker for bright purple tops, what can I say?) I didn't even realize Tully Bevilaqua played, but the last couple of years, it's been more about her off-court class than her on-court game. Danielle Adams decided to go for the long ball more than usual, and either they went down pretty as a picture or they missed very, very badly. She also used her size to draw fouls and generally bother the living daylights out of people. I felt very bad for Nicole Powell after she got bulldozed juuuuuuuust outside the circle. Shenise Johnson gave San Antonio some unmemorable minutes. Jia Perkins absolutely ripped us to shreds, not necessarily starting with that heart-breaking steal and lay-up to end the first half, but that was certainly the most memorable. She ripped open threes, broke loose on the fast break after forcing steals, and in general beat us eighteen ways from Sunday. You'd think Powell would have given them a scouting report at some point.

Likewise, you'd think someone at some point would have remembered that Becky Hammon has a penchant for deep threes. She's starting to look like the point guard everyone hoped would take over for Teresa Weatherspoon... shame things went down the way they did, isn't it? I don't regret the trade, just for the record. She did seem a step slower than usual, and her shot not quite as reliable. Good thing; we'd probably have allowed triple digits otherwise. Shameka Christon started the game off hot, as if to get the crowd into it- we gave her quite an ovation and I don't regret it one bit- but cooled off when Dan Hughes went more to Adams. Danielle Robinson's speed doesn't hit you until she's taking that first step on the break and then vrooom! she's at the basket. She and her team do an amazing job of making the extra pass and finding the open player. Especially in the second half, that player was usually Sophia Young making a backdoor cut and seeing daylight. She's sneaky and smooth and suddenly she has 17 points. (She finished with 21, just to put a cherry on top of the defensive fail.) Jayne Appel did not play much. I mostly remember screens. You'd think I'd remember a giant blonde in black better.

Kelley Cain came in early in the first half, which we should have realized was a bad sign for Braxton, and looked less lost than usual, but still got schooled by Danielle Adams. The fact that New York went more to Powell-at-the-four in the second half after losing the services of DeMya Walker says volumes about Whiz's confidence in Kelley. Coach? You're the one who drafted her. When your options are limited, USE YOUR OPTIONS. Nicole Powell showed signs of life, and finally got her three-point mojo working, but still slipped up defensively, especially as the game went on. I can't completely blame her, though. This is not Stanford and she is not a 4. She's not going to have any kind of defensive success if Sophia Young or Danielle Adams decides to go into the paint. She's going to get backed down and beat around. Alex Montgomery got some time in the second half, when Whiz seemed to be desperate to try almost anything, and was unmemorable but not awful.

Katelan Redmon seems to have a good attitude about everything. That's good. I'd like to see someone work with her on her footwork.

Kara Braxton. How in the world are you a 6-6 starting center in the WNBA, facing a team with no low-post presence, who puts up 1-of-7 shooting from the field? And some of those shots were shamefully awful. How do you airball a lay-up? How do you throw something off the side of the backboard like- in Ray Floriani's terms- "a middle school girl who's just been put into the game for the first time with three minutes to go"? How? HOW? At least she did some work on the boards, but more of those tips went to San Antonio than I liked. Leilani Mitchell played an outstanding game today, not just statistically, but in terms of defensive disruptions, hustle, and deflections. She has to cut down on the stupid fouls, though; she's lucky she only ended the game with three. I feel for DeMya Walker after that injury that started out looking like an ankle and ended up looking more like a knee. It looked painful, and I wish her all the best. Cappie Pondexter was bombing threes and getting the long rebounds, but her ballhandling was entirely too fancy for a meat-and-potatoes team like San Antonio- they will ruin you if you do something stupid like that. Essence Carson put her cape on and went to work. I think she was single-handedly trying to win this game for us. If we'd had more of a roster available in the second half, it might even have worked. She was lighting it up from all over the court, making solid defensive plays, and generally being awesome. I like when Essence is awesome, even if we don't win.

Everyone seemed very impressed with the martial arts routine during warmups, but I was working on Pregame Notes of Doom, so I missed their actual performance. I'm sad, but I think that also meant I missed the underage space aliens, so that's a plus.

The officials generally let them play, which is all well and good until Leilani Mitchell goes for ankles, or when Jia Perkins starts making soccer moves with her feet.

There were a lot of familiar faces in the crowd that I haven't seen in a while. The old school fans come out for this game, because they still love VJ, and Becky, and Meka, while the new players have done very little to connect to the fan base.

Credit to the Silver Stars fan contingent for showing out. The black and silver streamers were gorgeous, and my thanks to the ladies who hooked us up with a thunderstick for the house. (We're looking for thundersticks/bam bams/bangers/long rounded inflatable things that go SMASH for our living room. So far we have New York, Connecticut, Indiana, Seattle, Phoenix, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and now San Antonio. The more, the merrier!) I'm not always a fan of opposing fans, but sometimes you have to show respect, and they earned it.

Do not smoke in the men's room, guys. Your intrepid blogger's dashing husband was not amused.

Cappie Pondexter does not appear good at the whole captains' handshake thing. She looked like Hammon and Young had each offered her a dead fish.

Up until the very end of the game, I couldn't fault the effort. The last two plays- Kara standing under the basket and blowing a lay-up, then Nicole all but handing off the rebound to San Antonio- stank. But the few remaining Libs put up one heck of a fight.

After the game, Cappie was sponsoring a wheelchair game with Becky, VJ, Essence, and Kia as celebrity coaches, so we stayed. A lot of people did, especially the San Antonio contingent. We were really glad we stayed- the game was amazing. Very physical- a few chairs went over in the clashes. White team had one guy who was a beast on the offensive boards. I think the 20-minute game finished 30-24 white, and this guy had 8 or 10 of the points, plus a gorgeous assist right near the end. I will say, wheelchair basketball brings new meaning to the term "spin move". Those chairs were stupendously mobile- one of the ladies in our section was talking about how lightweight and easy to move they are. Someone did need to clue Becky in to which one was her bench. (Hint: the one wearing the same color you are.)

I'm disappointed, but only because I know they gave it their all- it's just that the all of seven players isn't enough all to get past San Antonio. Not when they have that many players who can take over games, and not when Dan Hughes is that good a coach.