Just one game in the WNBA on Saturday, and this report would’ve been up much sooner if I could’ve faced writing about the game before now. It wasn’t pretty. If you haven’t watched it yet – unless you’re a fan of the team that won, and really only if you’re a truly devoted fan – don’t bother catching it via the archive. This was one to skip.
Seattle came into New York (or really New Jersey) on something of a high. They’d won five games in a row, and just added old favourite Svetlana Abrosimova to the roster. But those of us who watched the ugly win over Washington on Tuesday, and who remembered how bad this team has often been on the road, were yet to be convinced. Still, with opponents like New York, they had every chance to keep the win streak going. The Liberty had lost four of their last five, looked absolutely dismal in several of those defeats, and still had Plenette Pierson out injured (it was a ‘left knee strain’ in the box score this time). Bar Washington or Tulsa, this is the road game you want to play right now.
New York coach John Whisenant made a move, promoting Kara Braxton into the starting lineup over DeMya Walker in an effort to get more out of the frustrating Braxton. You can make a bunch of money in this league just by being 6’5” and remotely able to move, but you’ll annoy a hell of a lot of people in the process if you’re as inconsistent and wasteful as Braxton.
The defensive assignments to start the game were interesting, with the two teams cross-matching on the perimeter. Seattle were comfortable with the natural matchups – Sue Bird on Leilani Mitchell, Tanisha Wright on Cappie Pondexter, Katie Smith on Essence Carson. That’s where the standard positions would have them. But New York wanted Carson on Bird, to hopefully trouble Seattle’s leader with her length; Mitchell on Wright; and Pondexter on Smith. Not too sure about the thinking behind those last two, but maybe the idea was that Cappie wouldn’t have to work so hard defensively, as Smith’s offense typically involves setting screens and firing threes these days.
At least that created something worth thinking about in the early stages, because the basketball was barely tolerable. Continue reading