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Carson Leads Liberty Over Mystics

Just the Facts, Ma'am: 20 points and six assists from Essence Carson powered the New York Liberty over the Washington Mystics, 79-73. Cappie Pondexter added 16 points and six rebounds, while Kara Braxton scored 10 of her 14 points in the first half. Monique Currie led Washington with 20 points. Crystal Langhorne added 19 points and eight rebounds, and Jasmine Thomas had 18 points; no other Mystic had more than six.

For pulled pork, missed screens, mismatched pre-game entertainment, a mission accomplished, lunch buckets, the roundup of the Usual Suspects, and the cruelest of green dresses, join your intrepid and barbequed blogger after the jump.

Hello again from the Prudential Center! Today is Downtown Dribble, so there are many, many basketballs around. Like any good Rebecca, no matter the spelling, I rebounded any loose balls I found.

We just finished a moment of silence for a New Jersey police officer who died (I presume recently). I applaud the courage and character of good cops; they inevitably seem to be the ones who die in the line of duty, and that's a shame.

Season ticket information for both the playoffs and the 2013 season is out by the Fire Lounge, along with a veritable gauntlet of police displays. That many officers and departments in one place is intimidating.

Nicole Powell, I saw you pass me up when I asked for the autograph. For the record, that card's going to a friend in Arizona in thanks for a gift. So thanks, Nicole. That was nice of you. We did get to talk about the Notre Dame-Navy game with Natalie Novosel, though. (That's a lot of capital Ns. Wow.)

If these game notes are truncated, it's because there's a family with a special needs son and a fiercely overprotective, neurotic father sitting in front of us; I warned him that my husband and I tend to be loud, and he said, "That's gonna be a problem." You're at a basketball game, sir, perhaps this is not the best place to take someone if loud noises are bad for them? (Update: he left in the middle of the second quarter and never came back. Not my problem.)

A few Mystics fans are here, but they seem to be local- family or friends of Ajavon, Langhorne, and either Bobbitt or Robinson. (Postgame update: they were Bobbitt's family- we saw her leaving with them.)

Really lousy anthem. And if you're going to have a color guard for a moment of silence, why wouldn't you keep them for the national anthem?

It's a 13-point game at half, and Whiz's moves of starting Kara Braxton and Essence Carson over Kia Vaughn and Leilani Mitchell are paying off. Kara is very involved on offense, and Essence is solid at both ends. The stupid turnovers have been somewhat reduced, but are still more plentiful than I'm comfortable with. Michelle Snow appears to be in Trudi Lacey's doghouse, and please behold my surprised face at that. If they get Langhorne more touches, we might be in some trouble.

If you were ever wondering what happened to Shanda Berry, she's now a cop in Maryland. (Which now makes at least the second WATN? that ends with that sentence, the first having been Kisha Ford.)

There's something incongruous about a guy in an "add Jesus" adidas ripoff shirt and an Oakland Raiders shirt. Mixed messages much?

The middle portion here is being typed during the season subscriber cookout, where Alex Montgomery, Kara Braxton, and Coach Whiz are circulating amongst the people. I managed to survive giving Kara the business card of my favorite bra shop (I'm not the only person who's suffered sympathy pains when she runs down the court, and if they can handle my L-cups, they can handle her), though this was because I did not voice my belief that a skintight dress that rides up indecently is not a good look for her. Dinosaur Barbeque does good stuff, but they made one major miscalculation: the primary entrée is pulled pork, with only grilled Portobellos as an alternative. Bit of a problem when you have both Jewish and Muslim fans in attendance. Otherwise, OM NOM NOM.

We attended the game with a friend, who was very disappointed in the officiating, which demonstrates how bad the average is, because except for one or two calls, I didn't think it was particularly egregious. I think Iziane Castro Marques might disagree, but that's just a guess.

(Why is Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton out here faster than half the Liberty? Seriously? No, she didn't go to the cookout, that would just be awkward.)

Iziane Castro Marques, despite what I'm sure was relief at hearing her name said properly (or at least the way I have heard it said by a Brazilian), didn't play all that well, and that one rebound was off one of her own missed shots. Lacey initially put her in at the end of quarters to get the three-point game going, but then kept her in longer than I would have expected. I'm not sure if that was just to curry favor with her, or just to change things because they're the Mystics and they have 20 losses already. Shannon Bobbitt played sparingly, and I think Lacey was expecting her to be more a factor on defense than she was- yes, I realize this is an odd statement to make about someone as tiny as Bobbitt, but she tends to make her moves close to the ground, and with our sketchy ballhandling, that's an asset. She had one gorgeous crossover, though- shame the shot was missed. Michelle Snow played so little that I couldn't tell whether she was hurt, fighting with Lacey, or both- given that this is Michelle Snow we're talking about, anything is possible. She looked to be screaming in Lacey's face once, but as that's not the bench I sit behind, I can't vouch for the truth of that assessment. She did well cleaning up one odd little mess of a busted play. Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, with one gorgeous screen that was wasted on a missed three. She does the clichéd little things, and she gets rewarded for them with minutes and baskets off offensive rebounds. Natalie Novosel was in the game and did nothing memorable in her short minutes. Matee Ajavon must have done something wrong, because she came off the bench and barely played. I managed to forget her existence for a while. I'm okay with that. I really don't like her.

(Kia Vaughn is looking exceptionally well put-together. The platforms go perfectly with the black-and-tan striped skirt.) (Yes, I'm a girl and a fashion critic, give me agita about it and I will go Elaine Powell on you.)

What would it take to get Crystal Langhorne on the Liberty? I don't know how much of my soul I haven't sold yet, but I'm willing to put it on the table. I love the way she works, I love the way she goes backdoor, I love how she hits the boards. She deserves better than the Mystics. New York would love her. (Plus, she'd know her way around!) Jasmine Thomas shouldn't be looking for her shot as often as she was, because most of those field goals went in by weird luck. I'll work my way to a Devils joke later, but I think she got four different lucky bounces. I don't know why Ashley Robinson got the start (though she did have one pretty pass to Langhorne for a score), and to be honest, any opinions I might have of her play are overshadowed in my mind by her hot pink bra, her sheer white blouse, and shorts that would have been a tight fit on Shannon Bobbitt. (She wandered out late, chatted with DeMya Walker, and generally hung around the edges of the cookout, in case you're wondering why I know what her street clothes were. I teased her about being a party crasher.) Monique Currie had a solid all-around game, though she was most displeased with the officiating. Mo, if you run into people like a bulldozer, you will get called for the foul. She mostly played to her strengths towards the lane and the midrange, instead of trying to become an outside shooter. Noelle Quinn left no impression on me, despite playing most of the game.

I really wish we'd see more of Alex Montgomery. She's solid when she's in, and she's a good defensive player. I was under the impression that that was a crucial part of the Whisenant system. Leilani Mitchell responded decently enough to her benching, though I do wish she'd posted Shannon Bobbitt up once, just once. This is a thing that Leilani needs to do the one or two times she finds a player smaller than she is! DeMya Walker drew a most excellent charge on Langhorne deep in the backcourt, and as always, spent a lot of time laid out on the floor. I don't know how effective arguing with a ref from the seated position is. Kia Vaughn did not look good today. I think her head's not in the game, and that worries me. She didn't seem like her regular self, and I hope she gets better soon, whatever is going on with her.

Kara Braxton played the first half very well- she lost a little steam in the second, but she looked much like the player Bill Laimbeer would occasionally terrify into appearing in the W. She has no excuse for not going after rebounds, though. Plenette Pierson continued to look out of sorts, though ironically enough, getting hit in the face seemed to revitalize her in the fourth quarter. But I think her knee is bothering her more than she's going to let on. I'd like to see her take slightly better shots and take it to the hole, but if she's not up to it, then we'll have to adjust, and then find someone who is. As charming as Plenette can be off the court- and this is not sarcasm, she works the room very well- if she's breaking down, we can't afford to keep wearing at her. Nicole Powell hit the shots she was asked to hit, always looked vaguely panicked and frustrated on defense, and committed some stupid fouls (plus one that was not much of a foul at all and should not have been called). Cappie Pondexter was great all around- the shooting numbers are slightly wacky because she had two heaves to end quarters. She did the job we asked her to do. Essence Carson was the woman of the hour, both on the court and after the game. She was electric on offense, making things happen beyond the arc and in the lane, not to mention running the point for a fair amount of the game. She was also her usual Essence self on defense. And then after the game she dealt with the mob of fans who wanted her to pose for pictures and sign things with class and poise. Seriously, it was crazy around her. This is what happens when you stuff the stat sheet; she was mobbed even before she got into the fenced-off part of Championship Plaza for the cookout.

Kia's really magnetic. She worked the room like nobody's business with her dazzling smile. Kia's one of those people who you can always spot in a crowd, and not just because she's six-four and likes tall shoes. Plenette's very charming. Kelley was sweet, and appreciative of my clipboard (of doom!). The team-signed jersey will now be framed and put opposite the other framed jersey, under the Hofstra poster, across from the Liberty posters, because we are done, because Quanitra Hollingsworth does not count yet.

Q was working the cookout as well, so we'll see if she's working out with the team long-term, if she's visiting to say hi, or if she just wanted to spend a weekend in the city.

Liberty, I am disappointed in your taste in quarterbacks. All of you prefer Tebow? And several of you were Tebowing? For the record, if asked to choose between Sanchez and Tebow, the correct answer is Eli Manning. Also, and I don't mean to harp, but Kara Braxton and skinny jeans probably don't work. I realize I'm harping in a most hypocritical fashion, but I'm not a paid professional athlete.

What would you do for a Klondike bar? One lucky row didn't need to do anything. And now I want ice cream and we are out of Klondike bars. I haz a sad.

Awesome gear: the woman behind me in her signed Sue Wicks jersey and the woman in Essence Carson's BHA jersey from last year that I hope she took off before enjoying her barbeque. Even more awesome gear: the woman I saw going into the bathroom in a home white, 2006, Ashley Battle jersey that, from the arch of the lettering, might have been Ashley Battle's jersey.

My season ticket rep asks about my mom almost as much as she talks to us. It's a little disturbing.

It feels a little like a letdown, but at the same time, if everyone does what they're supposed to do, there should be some satisfaction. Also, I got to have Dinosaur and finish my jersey, so I'm happy.