Good evening, fellow fans! Your intrepid blogger comes to you on even more of a delay than usual, due to technical difficulties. Alas, this past Thursday, I opened the lid of my once-trusty Jocelyn, heard a horrendous crunch like someone stepping on a piece of Chex, and discovered that her internal cooling fan was now broken. So now I have to borrow my husband's laptop, and it doesn't travel well either. This is the glamorous life, y'all.
The ride up was slow, the ride back super fast, and I wish I had known about the outlets before I ran my tablet battery all the way down.
No fan fest this year, as far as I could tell, but apparently the open practices were really awesome. Maybe next time.
Lots of UConn and Sun fans, as to be expected. The Liberty were also well represented. I saw fans of every team except San Antonio and Tulsa. Shoutout to the woman in the Cynthia Cooper jersey- rock that throwback! (We certainly did. I busted out my Debbie Black Sol jersey and my husband wore my Rhonda Mapp Sting jersey. If you can't wear a throwback to an ASG, when can you wear one?) Shoutout also goes to the woman with the "Dallas
Very cool dual color guard at Mohegan. I'm now crazy curious about the meaning of the tribal regalia. Excellent anthem as well.
I really do not appreciate people who question Brittney Griner's biological sex. Yes, she's tall (but not the tallest player in league history, and no one outside the basest trolls questioned Margo Dydek's sex). Yes, she presents kinda butch (but she's not the only one, and I don't hear this nonsense about, say, Monique Currie). Yes, she has a deep voice (so does Kara Braxton and no one has ever questioned whether Kara was female). It's one thing when this nonsense is spewed from anti-WNBA trolls; it's another thing when people who claim to be fans of the game spew it. Steroid jokes aren't funny either, and I hope security confiscates the sign that one woman wants to bring to the Phoenix @ Connecticut game about roid rage.
Some of the intro skits were hilarious. I think Plenette Pierson versus Stefanie Dolson would have been a better match-up, but Pierson and Alex Bentley had enough fun with theirs. Kayla McBride and Emma Meesseman looked like they both thought this was a silly idea, which is probably why they were paired up.
For some time, we thought the delay at tip was because someone threw up. Don't spin your guards!
Oh, right, there was a game.
Kayla McBride came to play, not to have fun. She only really emoted once, during the quarter break entertainment, impressed to the point of 8-O at Russian Bar. She came to shoot the ball and hit her shots. Riquna Williams took threes all over the place and sometimes tried to defend Cappie Pondexter (and sometimes was like "nah"). Danielle Robinson had two good shots early that she missed, but after her second shift, she settled in and started hitting those driving lay-ups, along with finding her teammates with shovel passes and fast breaks.
Plenette Pierson looked like she was having the time of her life all night, whether it was drawing a line in the wood against Bentley, dancing at all possible opportunities, taking a selfie with a fan who wanted a picture, hauling Bentley back to the bench when Bentley was trying to fire up the crowd, shooting one-legged jumpers, or occasionally defending someone. So happy for her. Jantel Lavender was another reserve who showed up to get boards, play defense, and generally do all the boring things that most All-Stars are like, "nah" about. Unsurprisingly, she and Nneka Ogwumike had excellent chemistry together down low, recognizing each other's misses and cleaning up after one another. Ogwumike was solid and efficient- a performance worthy of an All-Star, if not an All-Star Game performance.
Sue Bird sort of erased herself from the play, but she made her teammates look better. DeWanna Bonner was unmemorable. I think Brondello wanted to save her for the regular season, or possibly just wanted the production she was getting on the boards from the Sparks' duo and the scoring from McBride.
The West didn't seem to look for Candice Dupree a lot, but when your frontcourt teammates are Maya Moore and Brittney Griner, it's kind of understandable. She hit the shots she got, and seemed appreciative of them. Griner woke up more in the second half, going on a tear down low. She even hit a three and looked good doing it (but the stroke is not yet strong enough for her to try it consistently). I thought the goaltending play was actually more impressive than the dunk, to be honest. If Maya Moore hadn't gone nuts in the fourth quarter, Griner would probably have been MVP. But Miss Maya went nuts in the fourth quarter. She started off hot, but she took over the game when there was a chance the East might still pull things out, and when Maya wants something, Maya gets what Maya wants. She was bombing threes, some of them from crazy deep. She drove. She got boards. She was generally awesome.
Stefanie Dolson was utterly adorable trying to get a "DE-FENSE!" chant started while she was on the bench, but it was a little hypocritical of her to slack off on defense when she finally got into the game. She got a couple of sweet feeds from Shoni Schimmel that bounced off her hands. Kelsey Bone was lackadaisical defensively (and I mean noticeably so, in a game where defense was not exactly a big thing), and I'm not sure who was the worse three-point shooter, her or Tina Charles. Emma Meesseman put on a nice little show in the first half, getting baskets and pulling down boards. I think the jig is up and she's not a surprise anymore.
Alex Bentley was not afraid to shoot, and she was feeling it from deep. The guy in front of us was wondering why she couldn't hit like that in the regular season, and I wanted to say, "Dude, this is an All-Star game, defense is optional." Marissa Coleman was also taking a lot of deep shots, with somewhat less success. Cappie Pondexter ran a little bit of point guard off the bench, and also had fun with Riquna Williams. She seems happy. I'm happy for her.
The official starters didn't actually start the second half; Pokey went with Bentley, Pondexter, Coleman, Meesseman, and Bone.
Shoni Schimmel seems at her best in All-Star games. I'm not sure if that has more to do with the freeform play, the more fun atmosphere, or the lack of defense. Whatever it was, she seemed to be moving faster, playing more comfortably, finding her teammates, and generally looking like an All-Star. Elena Delle Donne almost had a "anything you can do, I can do better" vibe with Moore, answering almost every basket with a basket of her own. She's so smooth to watch.
Tina Charles, you are not a three-point shooter. Everyone in the universe knows it. Even Swin knows it. She was unstoppable down low and completely stoppable from beyond the arc. I think she was on a minute count, because otherwise she should have entered sometime in the third quarter. Angel McCoughtry was a hot mess today. She found a little bit of offense in the second half, but she spent a lot of time taking stupid, difficult shots, then pouting at the ref for calls. I don't know why she was in for so much of the fourth quarter, but the offense collapsed into her as if the ball had entered an event horizon. Tamika Catchings did her work around the basket, though I think she also had a jumper. She came to play at both ends of the floor, because she's Tamika Catchings, and if you're Tamika Catchings, you play hard. It's what you do.
I have to assume that Chatman was thinking ahead to the regular season down the stretch, and that's why Delle Donne, Charles, and Catchings were all on the bench while McCoughtry was jacking dumb shots.
We skipped the halftime entertainment, but we got to see the quarter-break entertainment, and the Russian Bar trio was amazing. Sure, I'll let two guys catapult me into the air on essentially a flexible balance beam, and I'll do flips and twists and spins in the air, and I'll land on my feet like a cat... that takes a special kind of talent and a special kind of crazy. By the end of the timeout, everyone on the West, including Coach Brondello, was watching.
Officials mostly stayed out of the way, at least until the fourth quarter.
The All-Star gear is bland at best and ugly at worst. And I didn't see any little things available. I would have bought a pin or something like that. And I hate the cut of the jerseys- they look like sports bras. Anyone with developed deltoids will probably break the straps. Anyone in less than stellar condition is going to bulge. (I do not want to see Danielle Adams in this jersey...)
We skipped the glowsticks during intros. They're in my bag.
Plenette provided most of the funny moments today, whether it was her skit with Bentley, her dance moves, or the rematch with Bentley. Bentley had gotten off the bench during a timeout and wandered towards center court to pump up the crowd. Yes, normally a technical, but on that day not a single damn was given. So Pierson came off the West bench, grabbed Bentley, and dragged her back to her place before scampering back to the West.
Games at Mohegan are convenient for me, but I'd like to see the All-Star game leave the eastern seaboard- I think it's causing fans to become jaded. They didn't even pretend this one was a sellout like they usually do.