Welcome to yet another edition of the seemingly endless Game Notes of Doom! This time around, the Liberty take on the Washington Mystics on Dads and Daughters Day at the Garden. Someday you guys will get the full essay about my relationship through sports with my dad, but today is not that day.
There appears to be some kind of animal theme to the child exploitation via dance today. Please make it stop. No. It's not stopping. There's another group, none seeming older than nine, in bright pink dresses above the knee. Seriously. This is gross.
Swin Cash brought a group of kids from her foundation today and took pictures with them. Very sweet. (As a bonus, that meant she came out, and that meant she had to go back, and that means that Swin signed my cap, which has been difficulty level expert for about a year.) Swin's mom was also with the group- or if not her mom, then a woman who has the exact same facial structure as Swin and a similar, if not as athletic, build.
Stefanie Dolson's hair is even more vibrantly purple in person. It's spectacular.
The enemy is among us: Washington has organized a road trip. There are also occasional individual Mystics fans.
Substitute announcer today. Games without Mike W. make me sad.
So do games in which we play with no energy and Tina Charles couldn't hit the broad side of a barn if you put her in the barn. It's 35-29 at the half. Ivory Latta has been a sparkplug for the Mystics, and Stefanie Dolson has the outside jumper working.
I don't think Bria Hartley's playing any time soon. She has a little scooter. I don't know if she has a horn for the little scooter like Wendy Palmer-Daniel had.
Apparently Rebecca Allen is out for the year, so this space will end up being the fashion report. Today she's showing off her tan and her guns. Nothing too embarrassingly tight.
Washington's ballgirl is wearing a Dolson shirt. Not sure if Washington brought the gear or the whole kid.
That was ugly, but not quite as ugly as the scoreboard indicates. You'll just have to believe me on this. Neither team shot well, but Washington took better advantage of their looks. It helps when you have perimeter shooting, too, as Washington did.
Natasha Cloud committed a really pointless hard foul up 20 in the fourth quarter that we thought should have been a flagrant. She brought a different look to the Washington backcourt, with height and speed and solid passing. The play that impressed me most was actually a missed rebound- she read it very well but got deked by a bad hop.
Ally Malott was an offensive spark, giving me frustrating flashbacks of a certain tournament game in 2013. She's not WNBA-ready in any other regard, at least from this game, but she's a jolt of offensive life from the perimeter. Kayla Thornton brought height and size.
I have unresolved issues regarding Tayler Hill (g'wan and ask me in the comments), so I can't guarantee that my view of her is unbiased, but she doesn't seem shy to shoot. She needs to bring more than that if she's going to not be redundant- Cloud's a better passer and Malott's a better offensive option.
Even with a 12-player roster, everyone has to have something that they bring that someone else doesn't.
In the heat of the game I was calling Stefanie Dolson "that freakin' Troll doll" (though I really think Washington needs to talk to the maker of said dolls about doing a giveaway based on Kalana Greene's joke photo, because I need that in my life).
I'm surprised the ball ended up in her hands at the end of the clock as often as it did, and that led to two of Washington's three shot clock violations. She's got nice outside touch for a big. Kara Lawson lay low until the fourth quarter, whereupon she broke our backs with consecutive threes and great despairing was heard across the land (though not as much as there should have been).
We came down hard on Emma Meesseman, who didn't get any good looks inside and really didn't retreat outside. On the other hand, Ivory Latta got plenty of open space that she took advantage of, whether it was going to the rack or hitting threes and proceeding to let everyone in the universe know just how happy she was to hit that three.
Armintie Herrington intercepted passes like she was playing in the NFL, and found her free throw stroke later in the game after missing her first two. She's not an offensive option, but she's so solid on defense.
Washington made the game ugly, and we fell into that trap. They crowded the passing lanes and ensured that the crisp passing that characterized our wins wasn't nearly as easy as we thought it was going to be.
Candice Wiggins came in early in both halves because Brittany Boyd was having trouble adjusting. I think I would pay money for a transcript of her chattering at Ivory Latta during the game. That's all she was good for in the game, though. (I'm trying to be gentle, because she's super-friendly to fans.)
Avery Warley-Talbert played briefly in both halves when someone needed a sub but Bill didn't want to throw the rotation out of whack. Stop bringing the ball to the floor, Avery; you're starting to give other people bad ideas. Sugar Rodgers was all over the map- good shots, bad shots, courageous plays, stupid plays.
I love her ferocity, but she's never going to be consistent, and that's going to drive me nuts. Swin Cash was good defensively. Carolyn Swords got itno foul trouble, though partially because of inconsistent officiating, but got a lot of work done on the inside. To borrow a cliché, she brought her lunch bucket today, and she worked hard.
I wish I could say the same of the starter. Tina Charles was keyed on all game, I'll give her that. But she had open looks and missed them. She had chances and she blew them. I expect a lot out of Tina, and all we got today was a lot of nothing.
Tanisha Wright picked off passes like she was auditioning to play corner for the Giants. I question some of her offensive decisions vis-à-vis driving into larger players, but T doesn't back down from anything, so I can't say I'm surprised. Essence Carson was intense today- love to see that from her. I wish she'd stop stepping on the three-point line, though.
I like to see her working on offensive rebounds. Kiah Stokes has to hit bunnies when Tina hits her with perfect passes, that's simply all there is to it. She came up with big blocks and seemed to get stronger as the game went on. Brittany Boyd spent a lot of time attempting to draw fouls, setting aside the fact that, for the most part, we were not getting those calls in this game.
Sometimes she tries too hard. You can't fault her for that. I do fault her for not figuring out that if you throw a pass and it gets intercepted, you probably shouldn't throw the same pass in the same way.
The shooting was horrific. There were a lot of contested looks, but even when we got open looks we couldn't knock them down.
The moment I knew we were doomed: Armintie Herrington fumbled a dribble badly and sprawled on the floor. Somehow, she got enough control of the ball to keep it in Washington's hands, and the play ends with Lawson hitting a three to make it a 13-point game.
The moments in which I saw hope for the future: first, after Tina blew a lay-up short, Boyd immediately took her in hand to settle her down. Second, the offensive rebounding that led to Carolyn hitting a lay-up on the fifth chance.
The officiating was a hot mess. Very inconsistent. Call contact to the head, people! Sugar's got a Georgetown education, there's a valuable asset to protect in that skull!
It was a perfect storm of disasters for the Liberty. You can't win if your best player is 3-17 from the field. You can't win if you shoot 30%. You can't win if you give up 10 threes. You can't win if the free throw differential is 2-to-1 for most of the game. We'll get through this... but Indiana is closer to full strength than they were on Friday.