Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Watching the W

Interesting night in the WNBA. I flipped back and forth between Houston-San Antonio on ESPN2 and Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on TNT.

Before I left work, Houston had a big lead early, but I looked at the lopsided shooting and figured it wouldn't last. I was right, but I didn't figure things would change so dramatically. A la the Storm's comeback on Opening Night, the Silver Stars outscored the Comets 24-7 in the second quarter. The Comets hung around, but San Antonio won 82-71.

I'll admit being a little dubious of the Silver Stars' off-season moves, but so far, so good. Becky Hammon (26 points and nine assists tonight) is controlling the game better than she ever did in New Y ork, Erin Buescher is giving San Antonio a great reserve (with help from Shanna Crossley) and the Silver Stars d has forced at least 19 turnovers in each of their games. That's scary. San Antonio will be at KeyArena for a rematch on Saturday night that you won't want to miss.

On the Houston side, the big question is what's wrong with Sheryl Swoopes, who made only one field goal and scored six points. At least in the second half of the Storm game, it seemed Swoopes got lost. She showed she can still dominate in the first half of that game.

We have started to see the tough side of Ashley Shields' transition to the WNBA. Shields scored 21 points last Friday at Phoenix, but it took her 23 shots and eight (8!) turnovers. Tonight, Shields was 1-for-4 with four turnovers in 15 minutes. Nobody can contain Shields one-on-one, but when the help defense comes, her decision-making has been shaky at best.

Surprising outcome in Phoenix, where the Mercury overcame a 17-point deficit without Diana Taurasi (ejected during the second quarter after starting the game 1-of-7 from the field) to beat Sacramento 76-75. Stunningly, Phoenix won this one with defense. The Monarchs shot 37.7% from the field and had 19 turnovers, allowing the Mercury to win while shooting 34.9% from the field. You aren't going to see Phoenix beat Sacramento in an ugly game too often.

In Minnesota, a predictable outcome: The Fever remained unbeaten and the Lynx remained winless. The schedule hasn't been kind to Minnesota, but you're in trouble when your starting frontcourt totals 11 points on 5-for-17 shooting. Nicole Ohlde continues to struggle. Lindsey Harding had another solid game: 17 points, six assists and three turnovers in 27 minutes.


Anonymous said...

there is word from Houston that Sheryl has back pain issues that effect her legs and knees - but my big huge concern in all this is Sheryl's time on the floor - isn't she the one who recently said she should be playing less minutes overall - that she deserves a backup that can relieve her time on the floor ... yet she is consistantly still out there - what is up with that??

Game on Saturday should be fun ... hope this time around someone removes the cellophane from the basket and we control the ball better ...

Kevin Pelton said...

The sad fact is that Maiga-Ba would be a perfect backup for Swoopes, since she's a natural three, but she's so busy playing shooting guard both have been on the court most of the time.

I looked at the numbers this morning and Ashley Shields is using more of her team's possessions than any other player in the league. I think that's got something to do with it.

Sheila said...

The commentators on the broadcast last night mentioned Shields and the number of shots she was taking several times. Their basic jist was that when you have two all decade team members on the floor, they must have a lot of respect for your game if they aren't bellyaching about the number of touches they AREN'T getting. Maybe this coupled with Sheryl's ongoing back issues is the problem. Is there dissent in Comet's land that is not being seen by outsiders. New owner, new coach, aging stars and a rook at the point who makes poor decisions could make for a looooong summer.