Monday, July 14, 2008
A hair raising afternoon. Courtesy of SPMSportsPage.Com.
"we put in what should be the starting five after we're down 8..... why don't we just start with them and spot the other team ten...."
I usually make notes while I'm watching a game. When a game is close, I generally write a lot; when a game is out of reach my paper looks blank. And let me tell you something, this was one blank looking paper. Which matched the way the Dream looked on CSS last night - blank, for the most part.
All right, my game notes:
1) Iziane Castro Marques. Started. Nine minutes. Zero points. Her last four games have been something like 10 points, 0 points, 7 points, and 0 points. Either Izi shows up, or she doesn't.
There are only three reasons I can figure Izi gets a start:
a) After the debacle in Madrid, Meadors is trying to restore Izi's confidence,
b) Meadors believes that Izi provides "veteran leadership", or
c) Meadors is trying to apologize for her belief that Izi spoke Spanish and not Portugese.
2) And...Katie Feenstra. She played fifteen minutes and scored 21 points. Let's not talk about the six minutes Kit played over the first three quarters, where she scored only two points. I suppose they were the anomaly, but God, these confidence-building exercises Meadors is trying are just killing me.
3) Interesting stat of the first quarter: with 5:57 left in the first quarter, the Sky took a 12-2 lead.
Atlanta never came to within 10 points of the Sky for the rest of the game. The Sky took an early first quarter lead and never abandoned it.
4) We finally got to see Chioma Nnamaka, probably as a mark of Coach Meadors's desperation.
Four minutes. Zero points. One rebound. And in Coach Meadors's mind, the Chioma Nnamaka Era is over.
5) I believe Atlanta was 3-20 in field goals for the first quarter. Trust me...it wouldn't get any better.
6) We brought in Haynie. We brought in Strother. But unlike the past few games, bringing in the reserves did absolutely bupkus.
7) We scored a measly six points in the first quarter, and added 11 more measly points in the second. By haltime, the Sky had a comfortable 44-17 lead. The Sky shot 16-29, 55 percent from the field with 19 rebounds. The Dream shot 6-33, 18 percent with 11 rebounds.
There are very few teams that can dig themselves out of a hole that deep, and we're not Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman over here in Atlanta.
8) In the third quarter, we tried more experimentation. We put Feenstra and Bales in at the same time, a combination that has never worked. We had at least four unforced turnovers in the third quarter...and those were the ones I counted.
People really underestimate the impact of unforced turnovers, like double dribbles. This sounds like elementary school basketball, but you have to keep your hands on the ball when you're down by 27 points.
9) Now, let's talk about Katie Feenstra's amazing fourth quarter. Her 19 points in the fourth is the third most points scored in a quarter by any player in WNBA history, and surpasses the 18 points Betty Lennox dropped on the Lynx in the fourth a month ago.
I've complained before about the fact that when referees in the WNBA see two players grappling, they seem to give the foul to the person who tries harder. You can punch someone in the throat, and the referees will call the foul against the person whose larynx you just flattened.
For some inexplicable reason, Chicago decided to play "Hack-a-Feenstra". Katie is a foul magnet, and they figured -- probably for laughs at this point -- that it might be fun to see if they could get Kit to foul out.
When you foul someone who is trying to score -- as Kit was last night -- three things are going to happen.
a) They're going to score anyway,
b) They'll get sent to the foul line, or
c) They'll get charged with the foul (this is the WNBA, remember?)
This works against Shaq in the NBA, as he's likely to miss both free throws -- Phil Jackson once said that missing both free throws is just as good as a turnover. Kit is a 69 percent free throw shooter. Not as bad a Shaq, mind you, but 69 percent isn't anything to write home about.
The problem was, Kit hit every free throw she scored. She went 11-for-11. The Dream wisely gave her the ball, and we actually cut the Sky's lead to 13 points. The Sky, however, didn't have to rue the day they sent Kit to the free throw line, as they led by 27 points going into the fourth.
POSTSCRIPT: Feenstra also had eight rebounds.
10) Ivory Latta: 23 minutes, and only three points. She went 1-5 for shooting. There's another indicator as to why we lost.
11) If you look at minutes played on both sides, you'll see that non-starters are getting a lot of minutes. This is because Meadors was desperately trying to substitute and because the Sky felt free enough to give their non-starters minutes.
(* * *)
Okay. The best we can do is forget about this one. One of our problems is that we can't just can't shoot. Of Dean Oliver's four keys to victory, shooting is 50 percent. I don't know if the reason why we're wearing blindfolds out there is because everyone else is so much better defensively or because we can't find the bucket. However, according to the WNBA, we have the second worst shooting percentage in the league.
On Wednesday, we go to Indiana to play the Fever. The Fever probably have the slowest, take-it-easy offense in the League. Washington scored 14 points against them in a half, then came back and won. If our three-point shooting is hot and if we actually figure out how to put the ball in the metal hoop, we could beat the Fever. However, I suspect that on most days, we need a compass and a map to find the hoop.
Let's just hope the needle points to "north" on Wednesday afternoon.