Wednesday, July 1, 2009

10/2009 - Lynx 91, Dream 85

Izi imitates the Statue of Liberty.

Last night was the first game that I ever attended with my wife. My wife had some out-of-town visitors and we decided to treat them to a WNBA game. Therefore, I don't have the kind of detailed quirkly little observations that I usually have.

I noticed that due to the fact that this game was televised, the WNBA's "Expect Great" logo was added to the court. It didn't quite look right, as the matte didn't quite seem to match the finish of the rest of the court, making it appear as if the logo was a sticker.

Despite the low turnout, I was quite happy that there appeared to be a lot of red shirts in the audience. (I was definitely wearing red.) It looks like a lot of fans took the request of the Dream to wear red in honor of the heart association to their own hears. Although, the Jumbotron asked a lot of dumb questions based on heart health when the Dream was giving away its swag. Eating fried chicken every day is not good for your health? Who knew?

We managed to get there about 7 pm, missing the anthem. The game had just tipped off when we got there and I was surprised at the pace of it all. Atlanta and Minnesota were in that proverbial track meet, and Atlanta seemed to be getting the best of the visitors.

Iziane Castro Marques was on fire. She had at least 10 points in the first quarter alone. That should have been a warning sign of what was to come right there. She scored 31 points total, setting a career record, but the pattern this year has been that Izi is awful during games that we win, and fantastic during games that we lose.

In particular, poor old Nikki Teasley suffered. I can imagine her trying to race up and down the court with those creaky knees of her. Nikki's game at point guard is a methodical one - I'll move the ball up, and if there's no where to move it, I'm not going to waste a lot of motion. In a run-and-gun game where both sides try to heave up as fast as possible, that kind of game suffers.

It became clear almost from the start that a) Candice Wiggins was going to be on fire, and b) our three point defense was going to be -- lacking. Both teams were shooting over 50 percent in that first half, but the Lynx had the three-pointer and we didn't. We got rid of Betty Lennox and Ivory Latta, and Latta was particulary skilled at hitting the three. In the great Latta vs. Lehning war, this game would probably be the keystone of the pro-Latta forces.

We began to slide backwards in the second quarter. That quarter was marked by an altercation between Nicky Anosike and Erika de Souza, two players who I believe deserve All-Star spots. It looked like Erika was just getting beat up - bam-bam-BAM - at finally, after the time out, the refs called a Flagrant #1 Foul on Anosike, which gave the Dream two free throws and the bucket.

In the third quarter, we slid backwards. I think the Lynx took something like a 16-2 run to start the third. They were still hitting 3s like crazy. Coco Miller had a lot of energy for the Dream during the game; it looked like Coco and Kelly were playing each other one-on-one sometimes. We couldn't stop their zone, so the Dream went into the 2-3 and this time, it was the Lynx's turn to watch the Dream ring up points.

However, it was the fact that the Dream can neither shoot, nor apparently defend 3-pointers that just killed us. Minnesota opened up the long range artillery and it was almost lights out for Atlanta. The final score doesn't indicate a close game, just that Minnesota preferred to coast on their big lead. Even when we were down to two possessions late, no 3-points attempts, no fouls and a lot of head scratchin'.

We did have Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic at the game. As a rule, NBA stars support the W. They know how difficult it is to play professionally.

After the game, I asked my wife what she thought of the WNBA. She said she had a good time, but was not ebullient. She said that she can feel glad that she went to at least one of the games. Clearly, I'll have to work harder to turn her into a fan of the W.

As for our visitor, I asked for her assessment of the game:

a) She had seen a lot of men's games and that the women's game seemed slower. She thought that even women's basketball was a little bit faster.
b) She was surprised by the size of the players. "Those are some big girls out there."
c) She complemented Coco Miller. "That player with the bangs was doing a great job."
d) She asked, "why didn't they shoot a three point basket?" It looks like our deficiencies are pretty obvious.

All right, now that we have a box score, let's look at each team.

For the Lynx:

Candice Wiggins: 23 points. 4-for-8 from the 3-point line. Five steals.
Nicky Anosike: 20 points, 10 rebounds, with 4 assists and 8 steals. I think she won the battle of the boards.
Charde Houston: 18 points, 10 rebounds for the second double-double.
Roneeka Hodges: 15 points, all from 3-point range.

And now for the Dream:

Iziane Castro Marques: Marques shot 13-for-19 from the field, for 31 points. That was a career high, and it was just a damned good game, period. I just wish that whenever Izi stands up that someone would stand up with her. Iziane was named the Dream's Player of the Game on the Jumbotron, and I concur by naming her Dreamer of the Game.

Sancho Lyttle: 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals. 4-for-6 shooting. Couldn't get the double-double, but the Lynx are tough.

Coco Miller: 10 points for Coco as she really stepped up her game. I wonder if this has anything to do with some hidden competition between her and her twin sister Kelly. Her +4 was the only positive plus/minus score for the Dream.

Michelle Snow: Snow only played 19 minutes, but picked up 4 points and 6 rebounds. Snow might be warming up to this whole Atlanta thing.

Erika de Souza: 9 points and 9 rebounds, close to a double-double herself. Her 3-for-10 shooting isn't anything to be proud of, and she missed at least one shot at point-blank range.

Chamique Holdsclaw: 14 points might look good, but she shot 6-for-17 from the field. I think she changed places with Izi during this game, as this is Izi-type shooting most of the time.

Shalee Lehning: Once again, a big goose egg next to Shalee's name in points scored. However, without Teasley doing much for the Dream, she picked up 4 assists.

Jennifer Lacy: Egad. 1-for-7 shoting. She got three rebounds at least, and she didn't turnover the ball.

Nikki Teasley: 13 minutes. No points. Just a couple of assists. -16 in plus/minus. Teasley and her knees just weren't a part of this game, not at all.

Angel McCoughtry: Played only 9 minutes, shot 1-for-3 and scored 3 total points. She played the fewest minutes in this game, exceed by Shalee by only nine seconds. I suspect that Angel has ended up in Marynell Meadors's doghouse...and let me tell you, it's a place you don't want to be. Angel, where are you? I hope things get better soon, but I'm going to have to name you the Bad Dream of the Game. I'd send Marynell a cake if I were you.


Anonymous said...

Expect to see some changes in the roster soon....

Q McCall said...

A humorous account of how to introduce a significant other to a sport/team:

The Dream have got to do something about their pg situation... Teasley just isn't getting it done... she shows flashes of being effective, then just disappears... it is only their second season, but they have well beyond second season talent and the reality is that they should be playing better...

Anonymous said...

Yep, I have to believe Teasley may find herself looking for a new home. When she plays hard she is great, but she has rarely played hard like she could. Sad really because this will hurt her ability to make the big $$$ in Europe.