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Liberty survive Sun

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Just the Facts, Ma'am: The New York Liberty came away from a game full of missed shots with a 71-66 win over the Connecticut Sun. Tina Charles had 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead New York, while Avery Warley-Talbert had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Katie Douglas led all scorers with 26 points, with Alex Bentley chipping in 14. For clanks, auld acquaintance not forgot, clunks, Californian hair dye, clonks, the world's most annoying cotton candy vendor, clinks, conflation of cultures, and missed shots, join your intrepid and blurry blogger after the jump.

Avery Warley-Talbert had a double-double in the New York Liberty's win against the Connecticut Sun.
Avery Warley-Talbert had a double-double in the New York Liberty's win against the Connecticut Sun.
Photo by Getty Images.

Good evening, everyone! Actually, as I type these words, it's afternoon. Your intrepid blogger took today as a half-day and is currently on a Manhattan-bound F train coming up through Brooklyn, sitting across from one of the Lil Torches and her mom. Couldn't quite take the long way around that I wanted to, since HopStop wouldn't give me a route through Brooklyn to the Staten Island Ferry, but it is what it is. We're coming down the backstretch now, and every game in this utterly ridiculous Eastern Conference counts. Not to mention, we kind of have this thing with the Connecticut Sun.

Finishing off my hat has gotten tough to the point of ridiculousness. At this point, my best bet for getting Natasha is going to be begging her wife for a favor.

Adorable meter broken. Avery Warley-Talbert came out with cupcakes for her family. Not realizing at first that they were her family, I assumed they had a super-double-plus awesome ticket plan (because there's only one way to one-up seatside service) and made an ass out of myself. (Also, Mr. Talbert is quite attractive. Well done, Avery. Hey, when all you can see is the outside of the book, you can at least pay compliments to the cover.)

Renee Montgomery was so happy to see Ashley Walker in the stands she heaved herself up on the railing to say hi, and needed Ebony Hoffman to catch her on the way down. No joke. (Also, I'm assuming one of the team's favorite electives at Cal has to do with the proper application of hair dye. The body of evidence: Layshia Clarendon's golden 'hawk, Gennifer Brandon's Sailor Berkeley pink braids, Ashley Walker's dark purple hair {which is more the shade Stefanie Dolson should have gone with, IMO}).

We have a drum team. I approve. The guy drumming upside down was pretty impressive.

Okay, hands up anyone who got a very weird mental image when they announced "DJ Lobo" on the mix?

Well, that's a first half I would like to scrub from the inside of my eyelids. New York is up 33-25, but that's mostly because Connecticut spent most of the second quarter being able to hit water by falling out of a boat. New York decided that the substantial lead thus built up provided a wonderful opportunity to practice taking their really bad jumpers. We're rebounding well, though that might just be because both teams are providing plenty of opportunities.

It's Noche Latina at the Garden, nominally to exploit honor Anna Cruz. On one hand, a celebration of Spanish-speaking cultures is a good way to get folks in the door. On the other hand, celebrating a Spanish player with South American and Caribbean culture is sort of like celebrating English Heritage Night with hockey, kangaroos, and Bermuda shorts. Nothing that is related to the actual country of Spain where Anna hails from has been involved tonight.

They showed a little message for Bill Laimbeer and his wife's 35th wedding anniversary. I have never seen that man turn so red in my life. We're talking Houston Comets road jersey red here. (And yes, I did have a sample to work from- there's a woman in a Cynthia Cooper jersey here.)

That game was all kinds of hot mess, and everyone involved should just try to pretend it didn't happen and move on. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Oh, all right, fine.

Kelly Faris was inserted in the first half as Anne Donovan desperately sought something that would work. She scrapped, but was irrelevant. Ebony Hoffman got some decent run, and though she wasn't effective statistically, she used her frame well and forced Tina Charles to put in more effort defending her on the outside. Definitely an upgrade on Kelley Cain. Danielle McCray hit a three, at which point I was sure all hope was lost for the Liberty. We pulled through somehow. I like her hairstyle- very reminiscent of Le'coe Willingham. Renee Montgomery seemed to speed up the Sun's offense, which didn't necessarily seem to jive with what Donovan wanted to do. She did NOT want to come out of the game after her second foul. Kelsey Griffin was tough on the inside- got the scoring going in the first quarter for the Sun, and set things up with screens and rebounds in the second half. I still don't like the way she plays, though I probably would if she were in New York. She's just that kind of player. You can call her dirty- it's not always accurate, but she spends the kind of time around that line that you usually see from much more veteran players. Her battles with Plenette Pierson are pretty intense.

Katie Douglas either hit her shots tonight or missed them badly. There was no in between. Either they were sweet and through the net with much grinding of teeth in our section, or they glanced off the side of the rim or only hit glass. And she was hitting a lot of those shots. She pretty much decided that she was going to take over the third quarter. It helped the Sun's cause that she had a relatively immobile defender on her. She was solid on defense, too, including one crushing block on a bad decision by Sugar Rodgers. Much of the offense in the first quarter seemed to be running through Kelsey Bone. I'm not sure if that was a plan by Donovan to try and get Tina Charles into foul trouble, but it was not terribly effective. She missed a lot of chippies. She pulled down rebounds decently and filled up space in the middle on defense, but was not an offensive threat. Alyssa Thomas started using her athleticism more in the second half, going strong to the basket, and Connecticut might very well have won that game if she could shoot more effectively with her off hand. She had a couple of opportunities that she couldn't take proper advantage of. She did help galvanize Connecticut in the second half. Kayla Pedersen is not Chiney Ogwumike, despite the same alma mater, but she was ferocious on the glass. She went after rebounds with a single-minded intensity that was kind of scary- she had a really nice one that she flat-out stole away from the Libs that led to a Douglas three-pointer. Alex Bentley came up with pretty much all the field goals in the second quarter, with midrange jumpers and cuts to the hoop. She had a nice steal in the first quarter- I think it was off Anna Cruz, but don't quote me on that.

Chardé Houston, one thin blonde braid dangling from her bun like the pull-cord to a ceiling light, proved that the only shot she's ever seen and disliked is the one that someone else is taking. She had some pretty bad ones out there, egregious even by the standards of this bad-shot-happy game. Essence Carson got some first-half run, threw up a horrendous shot, played minimal defense, and proved why she has not been getting playing time for most of the season. I love Essence, but this season has not been her finest collection of moments. Swin Cash had a nice play near the end of the game to help salvage a loose ball, but was otherwise not impressive- when she fouled Douglas on the three near the end of the game, I'm pretty sure there was an epidemic of gray hair in the stands. Sugar Rodgers demonstrated a lack of shot selection that I haven't seen from her since the Georgetown days. She came up with big shots, but she also took some spectacularly dumb ones. She has perfected the soccer knee-slide of triumph. Plenette Pierson got away with an elbow- it didn't make contact, but it was pretty vicious- and did a lot of falling and slipping.

I think Cappie Pondexter's Achilles issue flared up again. She did not have any lift on her shot, nor could she keep pace with Douglas on defense. Connecticut used Pedersen and Bone well to get Douglas space, but Cappie got caught on those screens like... well, a moth on a screen door. She didn't play much of the second half, but came in to hit a couple of those legendary fadeaway midrange jumpers right when we needed the offensive boost. Anna Cruz was strangely reticent to shoot for much of the third quarter, penetrating and then dishing to places where there were no players to catch the ball, or if there were, they were Connecticut players. She got over it a bit more in the fourth quarter. Avery Warley-Talbert did nothing flashy, but fought hard for every rebound and went hard to the basket. It was one of her better games this year. She's a bit of a liability defensively, but I love her hustle and her work. Every team needs a player with that kind of mindset. Alex Montgomery demonstrated all the shot selection of a concussed lemur- bad jumpers, badly off line. Go to the hole, Alexandria. Go towards the basket. It's nice there. Defensively, she was solid. Still would like to see her make that more of a focus. Tina Charles started off hot, then cooled down, with some unfortunate misses. I'd like to see her rebound a little harder, but she got the job done on a night when no one seemed familiar with the concept of throwing the round thing towards the other round thing.

You may have noticed I have harped on the bad shots taken and missed in this game. There were a lot of ugly shots, and a lot of ugly misses on shots that shouldn't have been missed. I swear, I think I would have done something drastic if the Libs had missed one more free throw. My eyes.

The officiating veered in terms of bias. I don't get it either.

We won, I'm relieved, can we never talk about this game again?