Wednesday, July 2, 2008
"They say our love won't pay the rent/Before it's earned our money's all been spent..."
Oh. Sorry. I was flashing back to the movie Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray plays a man who is forced by fate to live the exact same day of his life over and over and over again. Just like the Dream, except that Bill Murray's character was a jerk and deserved his fate. The Dream didn't deserve this.
Who among the basketball gods have we offended? How long, oh Lord, how long?
1) The game was not just about who showed up, but who didn't show up. With each team forced to dress only eleven players, Phoenix chose to sit Cappie Pondexter out. Atlanta chose to sit Katie Feenstra out.
For Phoenix to sit Cappie out was a real slap in the face. Yes, Phoenix wants to win it all again and they want Cappie well-rested. Well...how about playing Cappie fewer minutes, huh? The message to Atlanta from Phoenix was "We're going to win this one with one hand tied behind our backs."
I no longer hate New York, or Detroit, or even Connecticut. As far as I'm concerned, I'll be sticking pins in my Cappie Patch dall for the rest of the year.
Now, let's talk about sitting Katie Feenstra out. This left Chioma Nnamaka and Ann Strother dressed for combat. Neither of them came into the game.
An article I linked to earlier mentioned Coach Meadors saying that she had four centers to start the year and due to circumstances beyond her control, she was left with one...Feenstra. Sitting Kit left us with no centers. Kasha Terry played over half the game, but beyond that it was the Center-of-the-Moment. "Are you over six feet tall and have female genitalia? Come and play center for the Dream!"
I don't know why Katie wasn't dressed. Maybe she was hurt. Maybe she's just not suitable for the running game. Maybe she's in Coach Meadors's doghouse. But there's no excuse not to put Nnamaka and Strother in the game. Hell, put them in late in the fourth quarter. That game was lost anyway. Phoenix was throwing their scrubs in, why shouldn't we throw in our scrubs? If you consider Kristin Haynie's minimal contribution (two minutes, two points), we basically played this game with eight players.
1a) Make that six players.
Stacey Lovelace: 20 minutes, 2 points.
Izi Castro Marques: 21 minutes, 0 points.
We need to call an Amber Alert. (That's a Georgia joke.)
2) Comcast handed out rally towels during the game. They did not work. Steelers, we ain't. I suppose there will be no Terrible Towel for us, except for the kind that dries our tears.
3) Taurasi got the most cheers of any Mercury player. I suspect she had her own cheering session of what seemed to be a bunch of frat guys in the upper deck. One was holding up a sign asking Taurasi to marry him.
4) Since this was an ESPN2 game, they brought out the dry ice machine and everything. Even the injured Erika de Souza tried to help, futilely trying to wave some smoke around.
5) We got off to what seemed to be a rousing start. Betty Lennox (note: I spelled it "Noox" for a few seconds -- maybe it can be a new nickname) hit a three-pointer and Tamara "Pigtail Power" Young scored a basket for the Dream to take a 5-0 lead.
6) They put Kasha Terry out there in her first hometown game in an Atlanta uni in the first quarter, and we immediately saw the difference between Feenstra and Terry. Feenstra lets balls get ripped out of her grasp. Terry doesn't. She simply keeps pushing her way in, usually drawing fouls. (She scored 11 points last night, probably because she drew zero personal fouls.)
7) We had it tied 25-25 going into the second quarter. Then...well, I won't say that Phoenix turned on the juice. Rather, a magic wand was waved and the Dream turned into the Washington Generals. They went 7 for 10 to start the game, but they only scored 9 points in the second quarter (Phoenix scored 33).
Betty Lennox went AWOL. There were tons of missed assignments, bad screens. Atlanta must have been the most patriotic team in the league last night, because to them, the word "defense" is French! As late as 3:19 in, we had only scored two points for the quarter.
The only highlight of the second quarter was learning that Ivory Latta's favorite food is meat loaf, mashed potatoes and green beans. I swear I'll send the Powder Blues some meat loaf if that's what it takes to win games!
8) As halftime started, and we were down 24 points, I saw a fan with a T-shirt that said WHY? My thoughts exactly.
9) Assist to turnover ratio for halftime:
10) Terry had scored her 10th point in the third quarter -- it would be a career high game for her -- but Taurasi was on her way to 20 points and more. Highlight of the third quarter -- the cheers from the crowd when they learned that felonious rapper T. I. was in the house.
11) However, the Dream managed to close it to 12 points at one time, 71-59, in the third quarter. When you're leading by 24 points, you start to ease up. I supposed we committed the ultimate sin -- reminding the Mercury that we existed.
12) That was when the Mercury started whipping our asses again. I took some guff for saying that we got whipped during a game on the Atlanta Dream Message Board -- but I defy someone to tell me that we didn't get whipped. The Mercury went on a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter.
Usually, the haters say, "my rec league team could beat a WNBA team". Well, buddy, you're wrong. That hypothetical rec league team couldn't have beaten 11 of the 12 WNBA teams playing on Tuesday night. I'll let my readers guess who the 12th team is. Maybe they couldn't have beaten that unnamed 12th team any other night, but last night? That 12th team were @#^&%&@)+!
13) Highlight of the fourth quarter: learning that Kristen Mann's dog is named "Mr. Sawyer".
14) Fast break points for the game:
What fast break?
15) To grind the heel in our eyes for a final time, they brought in Yuko Oga, the WNBA player who broke up The Beatles. Having limited time all year, she came to make the most of what Phoenix was going to give her. With just a few seconds left on the clock, Oga made that "slow dribble" that signifies to the court and the crowd that the clock is going to be allowed to run out and the game will end.
Then the little #^$&* tries a three pointer with a second left as time expires and the Dream are basically standing around. If she had hit it, Phoenix would have had 100 points. Little rat. Bet Coach Gaines put her up to it.
16) The attendance: 9,795 fans saw something called "basketball" -- and still loved their Dream. They were waving signs! They were dancing! They were cheering! We were down by 24 points and the crowd still wasn't out of the game.
Face it: Atlanta Dream fans are the gods and goddesses of the WNBA. When 9,700 people will come to see an 0-15 team, that means something. No one may love the Dream, but we do, and we always will.
(* * *)
Okay. Let's not see that again on Thursday. I might have to bring eyewash if I do.
For what I think about Coach Meadors, go back to #1, above. If we go 0-17 on Thursday, drop the axe. We can lose our remaining 17 games just as easily without Coach Meadors as with her. Maybe we should just give Ivory Latta some chalk and let her draw up plays.
For now, I'm going to ask my wife about incense and magic spells. I might have to rub the ol' cabbit's foot in order to get the Dream a victory on Thursday night.