Saturday, July 26, 2008
"And so this is gametime
And what have you done
Another game wasted
And a new one just begun...."
If there was any team that we could have beat, should have beat, it should have been the Mystics. But it's not going to happen, at least in 2008. Three games, three losses, and the opportunity has disappeared.
Let's look at the upcoming schedule:
Sun 27: vs. New York. I have them as the second best team in the WNBA right now.
Fri 29: vs. Connecticut. Which will be tanned, rested, and ready.
Sat 30: @ Indiana. Probably no practice. We'll just have to hope that the Fever don't show up again.
Tue 2: vs. Seattle. A chance at a win, as Betty Lennox would like to shove a win down Brian Agler's throat.
Fri 5: @ New York. I don't think a win is going to happen at MSG.
Mon 8: vs. Indiana. By now, every team is fighting for a playoff spot and licking their chops.
Thu 11: @ Los Angeles. Los Angeles will be fighting hardest of all, to save their season.
Fri 12: @ Seattle. Last game. Our only hope is that Seattle will have secured wherever they end up and rest their starters.
Five out of those eight games would make a strong woman wince. And the Dream are not strong women, or have not been playing like it, anyway.
All right. You want the numbered list, you get the numbered list.
1) I saw Lennox warming up, downing three after three after three. She looked absolutely fantastic. Oh, how appearances can deceive.
2) A bunch of kids took the court before the game -- the AAU Georgia Hawks, which seemed to only have five kids, played the AAU Georgia Force, who had ten kids who rotated an entire five-man team out. The Hawks won 13-10. The kids looked ecstatic playing. Let's get some girls teams out to play during halftime!
3) Definitely great seeing Erika back practicing. Someone held up a sign reading, "Welcome Back, Desouza!"
4) National anthem: Sung by Nike (pronounced NEE-kay.) She didn't do a bad job.
5) Immediately, I got a bad feeling. Lennox takes the ball, tries a three...and misses. Her next shot is an airball. Gonna be another long night at Philips.
6) Atlanta called a full time out. Didn't help. Once again, Atlanta digs itself in a first quarter hole, this time 11-2. Meadors rotates in Kristin Haynie, Alison Bales, and Tamera Young. We begin to warm up, and Washington goes over the limit in fouls with four and a half minutes remaining.
7) Meadors has the Twin Towers in. For the last time, this is not Riley and Wauters!! Put Kit in or Alison in, but not both!
8) Izi really kept us in the game, when we didn't deserve to be. She was hitting her foul shots. She scored four of her 10 first quarter points on charity stripe trips. Washington kept sending up to the free throw line. It was the only way we could score points.
9) Erika finally made her debut with 6.9 seconds left in the first quarter. During those 6.9 seconds, she steals the ball from Taj McWilliams-Franklin's lob pass, and takes a last second shot that almost went in and brought us within one.
10) Then, we began to fight Washington for control of the game. Lennox makes a basket in the second quarter to put us in the lead for the first time, 33-32. Strother hits a three and we take a two point lead, 36-34.
11) Washington was in foul trouble again and you could actually feel the Mystics back up. The only kinds of shots they wanted to hit were three pointers -- they didn't want to tangle with our tall girls at the posts and they made themselves happy shooting from range. Coco Miller -- the untalented Miller -- failed at two straight three pointers.
12) Two women in the stands held up a poster: "#35 Kasha Terry - Can I Have Your Headband?" I hope that Kasha came out after the game and gave those girls the headband, which they'll probably keep in a reliquary somewhere.
13) We were within an eyelash of taking a tie into halftime, when #@$#$% Laurie Koehn took a buzzer-beating three point shot to give the Mystics a 45-42 halftime lead, despite that they were outshooting us 47 percent to 35 percent. Those giveaway free throws really kept us in the game.
14) I saw a couple of fans waving a Swedish flag in the audience. This means either,
a) we're going to sign Johanna Bjorklund,
b) they got the flag at IKEA, or
c) those fans were realllllly lost.
CLARIFICATION: The fans were giving support to Chioma Nnamaka, who was born in Uppsala, Sweden. An anonymous commenter pointed this out. Boy, I'm embarrassed.
15) Then, the Mystics went on a 15-2 run. The Mystics superpowers were so great that they made the clock stick and the game had to stop while they reset it. Taj McWilliams-Frankin just killed us. She scored 11 points in the quarter and got five rebounds. Washington just blew by our big women like they were standing still. Washington led 70-59 at the end of the third quarter.
16) We rolled into some good luck in the fourth quarter. We were down 75-65. Then Latta hit a bucket. Then she hit a 23 foot long jumper. Then Izi hit one. THen Latta threw another one from behind the arc. We closed the score to 76-75.
It was 3:47 to go in the fourth. Showtime!
17) Here's what we showed them in "Showtime":
a) Latta loses the ball.
b) Latta throws a bad pass. Currie steals.
c) Latta loses the ball...again.
After that, we were El Shafto. All we could do is foul the Mystics and hope they had somehow forgotten to shoot.
18) We had four turnovers in the final four minutes. Tamera Young had come in for Lennox in the fourth quarter. Her contributions were a turnover and a personal foul. Young had six personal fouls, fouling out with 10 seconds left. I think they sent her out for autographs, and young kids should have been forced to stay behind a six foot protective wall.
19) At least we applied some defensive pressure. We forced Nikki Blue into an over and back turnover, far too late for it to do us any good.
20) As one of the fans was leaving the game, I heard her mumble, "that was wack." That about sums it up.
(* * *)
Okay, now let's look at the bloody boxscore:
Shooting percentage: 42.1 percent Mystics, 39 percent Dream. Misleading, because the Mystics shot close to 50 percent over the first three quarters.
Offensive rebounds EVen with Erika back, the Mystics outhustled us 15-11.
Turnovers: The Mystics won that part of the game as well, 16-20.
Free throw visits: WE won that one, 20-17 and shot 95 percent from the charity stripe. It was one of the only things keeping us in the game.
Let's take a look at player efficiency:
Izi: 23 points in 22 scoring attempts. This was one of her better nights, where she didn't have to throw the ball up fifty times to score 10 points.
Latta: When she finally warmed up, she shot very well indeed.
Bales: Not so well. 7 points, 8 attempts.
Haynie, Young, DeSouza, Strother: Nothing to be ashamed of anywhere.
Terry: One of the two milkcartons of the game. Minutes played: 22. Points scored: 4. I think Terry's mom -- who sits behind the Atlanta bench - must have a gun pointed at Coach Meadors's back.
...but the winner of the Southern Belle Milk Carton of the Game is:
Betty Lennox. Six shots. Two points. Four turnovers. They should have just let Ann Strother play eight more minutes.
Come back soon, B-Money. The Dream need you.