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Charles powers Sun over Liberty

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Tina Charles scored 17 of her 21 points in the second half to power the Connecticut Sun to an 88-66 win at New York, adding 14 rebounds, seven offensive. Renee Montgomery had 18, going 4-4 from beyond the arc. Kara Braxton led New York with 18 points, while Plenette Pierson and Cappie Pondexter each had 17. For frustration, bad manners, good manners, confusion, and exhaustion, join your intrepid blogger after the jump.

Marilyn Indahl-US PRESSWIRE

Good evening, everyone! It's a Saturday night special here in Newark as the New York Liberty host the Connecticut Sun I'm really getting tired of Connecticut, to be honest; between all the games I've seen there and the ones here, I think I have more games under my belt than some of the Sun players.

Downtown Dribble was today, so there are large groups of lost, loud people wandering around with basketballs. This is not going to end well unless the season subscriber behind me gave up her tickets.

Thank you for picking up my hat, Toni.

Superjudy is here for Connecticut, and that might be their best asset, to be honest.

Madam President is holding a chalk talk tonight, but I decided not to attend. Your dashing reporter will be in attendance instead, and he says that Madam President is looking into a lot of stuff we've been kvetching about.

The pregame entertainment looks suspiciously like Vegas showgirls in training. Dear God no. Do not want. I'm pretty sure that if this were streamed on the internet, it would be illegal to watch it.

One of the worst anthems I've ever heard in my life, and I've heard some pretty dreadful anthems.

It's a one-point game at the half, as fancy rope jumpers take center stage. The officiating has been lousy in this one, at least from my POV as a Liberty fan, but it's been hard to tell sometimes because more people than usual have decided to stand in the aisles during play. Plenette Pierson has gone off. There's a lot of standing around and staring at shots, especially from Connecticut. Did I mention the lousy officiating? Tan White might have a case for the travels called on her spin move and her jump pass, but there's flat out tackling going on that's barely getting called. Mistie Bass has had more of an effect on the game than Tina Charles.

And I don't know what Anne Donovan said in that locker room, or whose life Tina Charles had to threaten to make miserable, but that second-half surge was vintage Donovan and vintage Sun. I can't even put my finger on where everything went wrong for New York. That's what bothers me. It was just a complete... collapse is too dramatic a word. Deflation might be a better one. Disastrous. Frustrating. Endemic. Time to panic. Those also come to mind.

Misight have customized for her off the league website, and that's not acceptable for a professional player, even the most temporary of plyers.hich I don't know why, we've played Connecticut about seventeen times this year, they should be familiar with Bass's physicality by now. She got her offense going in the fourth quarter too, but by then everything was going Connecticut's way and she was only a small part of the tidal wave. Kayla Pedersen played so briefly that I thought her insertion at the end of the game was her first appearance, despite the fact that I have her down for a foul in the second quarter. Iziane Castro Marques came in briefly a couple of times, once as what looked like a desperation move and once at the end. Kelly Faris brought hustle and a well-timed three-pointer. She was all over the place on defense. Tan White's first two shots beat the buzzer- the first one the quarter horn, the second the shot clock buzzer. She was energetic and fast-moving. I'm glad she's healed up, but I wish it wasn't against us.

Allison Hightower is an All-Star. I'm not sure why people keep forgetting that, but she really is. She's a good shooter, she slashes to the basket well, and she's a solid defender. Unlike a lot of players in this league she seems comfortable with her off hand, or at least comfortable enough to take a right-handed lay-up to the right side of the basket instead of trying to force it to her dominant hand. People left her open and she made them pay for it. And I don't know whose brilliant idea it was to try and put Leilani Mitchell on her, but that's a mismatch she must have enjoyed. Kelsey Griffin did a fantastic job of hitting the open opportunities she got when defenders turned to Tina Charles. I still think she'd be better served by being a bench player, as that kind of grit and hustle generally works better on the bench, but at this point, I think she's the better option to start if it comes down to her or Bass. Renee Montgomery ran a good offense and kept hitting threes. We kept leaving her open for them. Why would you even leave Renee Montgomery to go help elsewhere when she's beyond the arc? Yes, she misses a lot of those shots, but she hits a lot of them too. She's a streaky shooter, and if she's on a hot streak, you can't just ignore that fact and stick to the plan. Sometimes the plan has to change. I barely even remember Kalana Greene's existence, for which I am deeply apologetic, especially since the only thing I remember is that she tackles pretty hard. Tina Charles was relatively quiet and passive in the first half, content to launch fadeaway jumpers and not contend for rebounds. In the second half, she was hitting everything she looked at, going hard to the basket (even after her own misses) and putting them back. We couldn't stop her. I'm not completely sure we even tried. She put on a show.

I actually feel kind of bad for Samantha Prahalis. At least her home jersey was spelled correctly on the first shot (or they did a more professional job of covering the gap where the misplaced letter was but the number was out of position on the back. It looked like one of the bootleg Pondexter jerseys, or like something they ordered for her as a customer through that's not appropriate for a professional league and a professional player, even the most temporary of players. I wasn't impressed with her, although one of those turnovers should have been given to Kamiko Williams on the fumble. Toni Young looked very much like she was in over her head- after a spate of frustration fouls and bad defense, she got put on the bench until Bill made the line change at the end of the game. Kelsey Bone rebounded well and had quick hands in the lane, but she couldn't get the bunnies to drop and seemed a little tentative when she did snag her rebounds- instead of going up, she was backing the ball out, and I think at least one of those ended up being a turnover. She's got to work on that. Leilani Mitchell was okay- not great, but also playing out of position, since Bill thought it would be a brilliant idea to play her at the two with Prahalis. Tiny guards are tiny. Tiny guards are not effective against Connecticut. Alex Montgomery brought good defense and an insistence on taking elbow jumpers.

I have no idea why Kamiko Williams was starting at the three- defense, maybe? Or Bill figured that Anne was playing four legitimate starters, so he could play four legitimate starters to even the playing field? I don't know, but she contributed one really nice steal (if Kara hadn't fumbled it she would have gotten an assist) and a strong slice into the lane. She's not a WNBA starter yet, certainly not at the three in 2013. Katie Smith looked done. I mean, for heaven's sake, the woman has been playing high-level basketball for almost as long as I've been alive, and she manages to run out of bounds on a baseline drive? Really? No defense, no offense, no veteran savvy- that's not the Katie Smith we need if we're going to salvage something decent out of this season. Kara Braxton went to work in the paint, going hard at the Connecticut defense, but her positioning on rebounds was so-so. Plenette Pierson was also great in the paint. She was more with the jumper and the strange exaggerated follow-through and the jackknifing leg motion, but she cut to the basket a few times as well. Cappie Pondexter showed up just in time to pad her stats and look like she was an integral part of the game. Yeah, okay. Whatever.

The effort fell off a cliff in the second half. I don't know what happened, but that's the fourth home game in a month where that's happened, and it irks me. Tough as nails comebacks on the road are all well and good, but you can't let them happen on your own homecourt. That does rather defeat the purpose, doesn't it?

I don't know what security's issues have been lately, but I really feel that it's inappropriate for the bag checker to ask me to catalog everything in my bag after I've already opened it further for his inspection, and if I ask for the security tag, please don't be snide with me. I have season tickets. I come here often. Far too often. And one of my friends who's in a wheelchair (motorized- sometimes she gives the kids in her family rides on the back) was telling me about the grief they gave her at the last camp day- she was there with three kids, and security tried to force her into the wheelchair section without the three kids she was with, then griefed her about bringing the kids into the wheelchair section with her. Uh. You wanted her to leave three minors unaccompanied ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND CRAZY WOMAN?

Officiating was pretty lousy. It felt like five on eight for the first three quarters. Then Bill got his technical for yelling at the refs and Cappie started getting bad calls in her favor. Just lousy all around.

Lots of retro gear has been showing up on small children lately. We're talking about Elena Baranova and Loree Moore here, not just Spoon or VJ or Meka. I'm not sure if this is a reaction to the team as currently composed, a reaction to the lousy selection of merchandise available, or a sign that our first generation of fans is spawning.

Ran into one of our Johnnies on the way home. That made things a little better, but not much. I'm still very, very frustrated with this team.

Oh... by the way... season subscriber open practice is tomorrow. I won't be able to go, but there will probably be fireworks.