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Liberty vs. Sky Game Notes: Prince leads Chicago over New York

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Epiphanny Prince dropped 30 on New York again, and the Sky held off a second-half charge from the Liberty to come away with the 73-69 win. Prince had game-highs of five assists and five steals to go with her 30 points. Tina Charles had 16 points and eight rebounds to lead New York. For eggs, signs of the apocalypse, ennui, rainbows, helpful people, not so helpful people, utter geekery (the minions have the phone box!), and the throwing of hands in the air, join your intrepid blogger after the jump.

Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

Good evening, basketball fans! We're coming to you from the gloriously rainbow-filled Pride Night at Madison Square Garden, where the New York Liberty are hosting the Chicago Sky.

So far the only player I've seen rocking Pride gear is Essence Carson in the BeTrue sneakers. But it's early yet.

Epiphanny Prince and Essence Carson came out from the tunnel together, arms over shoulders, and Pokey Chatman, coming off the court, proceeded to run between them to separate them, for the lulz.

I salute the pastel-pink and frosted-white Afro puffs rocked by Gennifer "Sailor Berkeley" Brandon tonight. Let your freak flag fly, yo.

Chicago has adopted the curious habit of signing in small print over their own name on the roster. The only other team I've ever seen do that was the Australian national team. They also split up when coming off the court, half going through the usual visitors' entrance/exit and half through the Liberty entrance/exit. Then again, a batch of Liberty players came through the usual visitors' tunnel, too. Maybe there's been a switch back there somewhere.

Rainbow thundersticks, rainbow Pride shirts, rainbow graphics- so far the Libs are doing Pride right, and that makes me immensely happy. (I'm pretty much straight {though I'd make an exception for Tari Phillips, wherever she is}, but the gay gene doesn't run in my family so much as it stampedes; combine that with a family propensity to hang out with gay men and lesbians, and you get a lot of gay influences on a wee tiny queenie. I could probably write an entire essay on why Pride matters to me as a straight woman, but this is not the place for that.)

So it looks like no one is wearing the Pride shooting shirts, which I take the league to task for. You made a point of something, and then you ran away screaming from your principles the second one person raised a stink. Sorry, but if you're dumb enough, or misguided enough, or thoroughly stuck on the translation of a translation of a holy book enough, to think that wearing a gay pride shirt is any kind of problem, then I want to know who you are and why you don't believe in equal protection under the law for my family and your teammates. I don't want you to be able to silence the voices of your colleagues who want to let their rainbow flag fly.

Phenomenal choral anthem.

I don't know what to make of this team. We're backing out of the lane and missing shots that we should be hitting. Then again, Tamera Young has hit three clean jumpers, so we might just be looking at the end of the world here, and if we are, then, readers, I love you all for the time you spend reading my words and I wish you good fortune in the coming apocalypse.

Follow your shot. Follow your shot. Follow your shot. Professional players should know this. Veterans like DeLisha Milton-Jones and Plenette Pierson should definitely know that. I don't know why we stood around looking pretty on a lot of those shots, because we're really not that pretty of a team, no matter how much dressing up Cappie tries to do.

Bill, this one's on you.

I love watching Jamierra Faulkner's footwork. This is going to sound like damning with faint praise, but in that regard, she reminds me of Erica White from the Comets- fast feet, always moving, very precise with them. She's very fast, and very useful on defense.

Markeisha Gatling is a whole lot of woman. Chicago fans will surely rejoice that she wasn't called for any illegal screens tonight. She was mostly in for relief when the starting posts hit foul trouble and Sasha Goodlett needed a break. Goodlett was actually pretty efficient down low, taking advantage on offensive rebounds and defensive switches.

Allie Quigley hit shots, because she's a Quigley and we have Big East players and that's how Quigleys roll and aaargh of incoherent dismay and frustration. Courtney Clements got her minutes early, hit a shot, and eyebrowed most fearsomely.

Given the post situation for Chicago, I'm disappointed Sailor Berkeley didn't play, but only because I'm trying to make something happen with this nickname.

Courtney Vandersloot, I am so sorry about that hit, that's not what it means to stand for Liberty and that kind of play embarrasses all of us, and I hope you're all right. At times it seemed as if she and Prince were switching off who was playing point and who was getting the shots, and I don't know if she was as comfortable at the off guard as Prince was at the point guard. She didn't seem fully comfortable with looking for her shot.

Tamera Young, however, took advantage of the times that she was left open and hit jumpers. And unlike every other time I've ever seen Tamera Young play, not only was she hitting jump shots, they were fundamentally sound jump shots with proper arc and wrist action leading to that arc. If she's finally learned to shoot, after however many years, then Chicago becomes more dangerous by far, because she adds a potent weapon to her offensive arsenal and becomes a true two-way player, fast on defense and willing to crash the lane on both ends of the floor.

Sylvia Fowles was physical, but still didn't seem to have her legs under her- Avery Warley-Talbert was able to battle her to a draw down low. She boxed out well and helped her teammates get rebounds. Jessica Breland had the outside shot going very early, but not so much later on. Doubling off her was not my favorite of decisions, but it worked out decently enough for us some of the time. Not all the time- she was able to make the extra pass, or the swinging double caused a weakness elsewhere in the defense. She got into foul trouble late in the game, and I think that affected them a little- but not a lot.

Epiphanny Prince was pretty much the team for Chicago. Okay, that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but in the first quarter she was outscoring New York by herself. She was hitting pretty much everything she looked at, except for some of the more impossible attempts with multiple defenders hanging on her. What was actually most impressive about her tonight was her ability to read passing lanes. Anna swung a pass towards Alex that Alex usually turns into a three-point shot, and Prince was on that like a cornerback. Granted, Avery threw her the ball twice, but still. Her Rutgers definitely showed in this one.

Chicago moved the ball well when the double came to the ballhandler. And when all else failed, they had Piph.

Shanece McKinney played very briefly in the first half to absorb some time on defense defending Fowles. DeLisha Milton-Jones seemed a little out of place on defense, but was able to get a little going on offense. Plus, someone had to fish the ball out from the side of the rim after Piph got it stuck, and we cut Toni Young.

Sugar Rodgers had another solid game on both sides of the floor. I'm coming to love her ability to jar loose balls when foolish posts bring them down to guard level. She forced two jump balls today, even though she wasn't the player who jumped either of them. She forced a little bit at the offensive end, but someone had to, and you know Sugar's going to take shots she should regret in the morning. Essence Carson continued to demonstrate the clock awareness of Herman Edwards, to the point where I no longer feel comfortable that she's going to do something good with the ball when the clock is running down. And that's a shame, because I like Essence. She had a nice break, though.

I can't even with Plenette Pierson right now, after that cheap shot she threw at Vandersloot. She was mixing it up down low all night, but this was something else completely unrelated, to the point where we were wondering if Vandersloot said something about someone's mother to have merited that kind of hit. It's a shame, because she had a good game, but that one shot overshadows everything. That's the stuff that makes people side-eye Bill Laimbeer and the Bad Girls.

Cappie Pondexter had a couple of nice defensive plays, but offensively couldn't find the range. Then in the third quarter, she had a flare-up of what Mike Lupica once dubbed "Wanna Be The Man" disease. Either she or Bill decided that they were going to try to force her to get shots, and she took some ridiculous shots into heavy defense. At least she got it together in the fourth and backed off a little, until near the end of the game. But the endgame was a hot mess in general.

The fact that we stayed in this one despite getting a goose egg from Cappie was remarkable. Alex Montgomery really seems confident in her shot, and either she's been told she needs to take more threes or she's been practicing her threes, or something, because she looked good as as a shooter. Her defense was pretty good, too. Anna Cruz kept pace with the Sky point guards and started getting more aggressive offensively in the second half. Avery Warley-Talbert was very tough on the inside, making Sylvia Fowles's life miserable, but it's clear on offense that she's not Tina. She does what we ask of her, which is to clean up offensive slop and hit open lay-ups, but she's not a creator offensively. I feel like I'm using that word too much. Tina Charles got boxed out a lot and threw up some really odd shots, but still had a decent game.

There comes a point when you have to move away from the concept of using a lesser player to defend a super star to protect your superstar's foul count. Bill was bound and determined to keep Tina off Big Syl, and I think that came back to bite us in the end, because the defense looked a bit disorganized down the stretch. There is no reason Alex should end up on Big Syl.

If you're down late in a game, would you not insert the player who's been scoring and who you brought in because she can score?

Why in the name of the flying spaghetti monster would you try to go 2-for-1 under 24 seconds on the clock? Otherwise, why in the name of the flying spaghetti monster do you have Plenette going to the basket with 22 seconds left and the shot clock off? I just don't get the logic.

The officiating was sketchy in the first quarter, but then Bill yelled at Amy Bonner and got a tech, and it evened out a little bit, so that both teams were getting their share of crappy calls and crappy non-calls. I still think they should have called the Plenette foul a flagrant on the review.

I'm not sure who's not listening to whom on the Liberty anymore. I thought we'd figured something out, but we're back to square WTF again.