Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sun-Liberty Game Thread

Final, Liberty, 77-71: The Sun continue to slide with their fourth straight loss and sixth in eight games. Lisa Willis scored a career-high 18 and Shameka Christon added 16 to help New York (11-9) overcome 19 by Lindsay Whalen and a career-high 18 by Jamie Carey. The key came midway through the fourth quarter when Asjha Jones (16 points) picked up her fifth foul and went to the bench. Over the next six minutes, New York went on a 17-6 run, forcing the Sun to watch as it hit foul shots to put them away.

9.1, fourth quarter, Liberty lead 75-68: After two Loree Moore free throws, Carey missed an off-balance 3. The Sun will lose their fourth straight game.

21.1, fourth quarter, Liberty lead 73-68: Carey is keeping the Sun alive. She just hit her career-high fifth three of the game, giving her a career-high 15 points. The Sun, though, are still in foul mode.

29.9, fourth quarter, Liberty lead 71-65: The Sun are in a tough spot. Amber Holt had her 3 blocked, recovered for the rebound but missed the baseline jumper, which New York rebounded. After a Sun foul, New York is about to inbound the ball, and the Sun will be forced to foul again. They'll need New York to miss free throws. The Liberty are a middle-of-the-road foul-shooting team at 75.4 percent.

1:51, fourth quarter, Liberty lead 69-61: Catherine Kraayveld just followed a Lisa Willis 3-pointer with her own from the corner, extending New York's lead to eight.

3:45, fourth quarter, Liberty lead 63-59: New York is on a 7-0 run and the Sun haven't scored since Asjha Jones left the game with her fifth foul. Lisa Willis (a season-high 13 points) has been especially killing Connecticut. She has hit a jump shot right before Jones' final points and drained another 3 to give New York a two-point lead. Her steal on the other end of Jamie Carey also led to the Janel McCarville lay-up that prompted Mike Thibault to call a timeout.

6:27, fourth quarter, 59-56: Jones just picked up her fifth foul and was replaced by Tamika Whitmore. It comes at a bad time for her and the Sun. She just had two jump shots in the last three minutes.

End of 3rd quarter, 51-49 Sun: A Shameka Christon pull-back jumper cut the Sun's lead to two with 2.1 seconds left. Twenty second earlier, Jamie Carey hit her fourth 3-pointer of the game, a long laser from the left wing. Carey has provided a spark offensively more and more this season compared to past years. Her numbers would be even better if not for an early Achilles injury, which she still ices after every game. She has 12 points, Whalen has 13 and Asjha Jones has 10. No Liberty player is in double figures yet.

2:55, 3rd quarter, 42-42: A Lisa Willis 3 just tied it, More notable, Barbara Turner just checked in for the first time following a Jolene Anderson free throw. It will be interesting to see what kind of energy she brings despite her recent struggles. She didn't play because of a coach's decision.

3:49, third quarter, Sun lead 40-35: Asjha Jones just blocked Essence Carson, but was called for a foul, prompting Mike Thibault to, ahem, disagree. But with Thibault miked up, that forced ESPN to cut the sound off. I guess you can't say bull poop on TV.

As for the game, Whalen has found a rhythm, scoring the Sun's first six points of the frame, which helped open up the rest of the offense. New York, too, has found its range, allowing the game to find a real flow over the first part of the quarter.

End of Half, Sun lead 30-26: Whitmore finally got on the board with a pair of three throws with 4.1 seconds left. Pam Ward just pointed out that the Sun are 11-1 when leading at the half.

Lindsay Whalen also just took a minute to talk with Rebecca Lobo.

On the offense: "Well, for one, I think we need to work on taking care of the ball. I know I have four (turnovers) of my own. (She actually has three). I know we took a couple early 3s so I think we just need to be patient."

And the defense, which has held New York to 9-of-28 shooting and nine turnovers: "We've done a good job of containing penetration."

1:31, 2nd quarter, Sun lead 28-23: Jamie Carey just hit her third 3 of the game, a pull-up dagger on the break.

2:35, 2nd quarter, Liberty lead 23-22: Janel McCarville has sparked the Liberty midway through the frame. She broke a string of eight straight misses with a lay-up over Gruda and has six of her team's last eight points. Whalen had a pretty lay-up-and-foul over her moments later, though she missed the lay-up.

As for struggling Sun players: Whitmore is 0-for-2 and missed a lay-up she may have got hit on with about three minutes to play in the quarter. The forward just doesn't seen to have that swagger she had earlier this year. Part of it is her back troubles, but even as that feels better, she has to recapture her rhythm by making some shots.

5:36, 2nd quarter, Sun leads 17-15: Neither team is scoring right now. A Whalen lay-up at the 7:22 mark gave the Sun their two-point lead while New York has missed its last eight shots. The Liberty are getting decent looks, too. It seems the Sun are simply fighting the shot clock more.

Sandrine Gruda is about to take the Sun's first free throws of the game coming out of a timeout.Considering the Sun's struggles, they should be looking to get the rim, but New York can make that tough by constant double-teaming in the post.

End of 1st, 13-13: The Sun made a little 5-0 run to close a quarter short on offense. The Sun are 5-for-18 from the floor, New York 5-for-14, and both are being very liberal with the 3s. The Sun are 3-for-8, New York 2-for-9.

The Sun forced New York into four turnovers in the final three minutes, which helped sparked their late spurt. But certain players are still struggling. Jolene Anderson missed two 3s and a jumper from the elbow, continuing the rookie's shooting woes. She's made one 3 since June 20 (1-for-13 in that span).

4:48, 1st quarter, Liberty lead 8-3: Mike Thibault just called a timeout, irked by Amber Holt's inability to get out on Shameka Christon for a 3. So far, the Sun have one field goal (a Kerri Gardin 3), four turnovers and just haven't looked in sync. They've switched well on defense for the most part, but the offense looks out of rhythm, though New York's zone press has had some effect.

8:30, 1st quarter, no score: Whitmore just made a great pass to Jones, who missed the open lay-up. That's just how they've been falling for the Sun lately.

7:02, real time: Tip off is a few moments away. Just noticed that in the whole 'Super Woman' intro ESPN2 has before the game, there's not one clip of the Sun. Just an example of everyone's expectations they would play near the bottom of the league.

As for the starting lineup: Kerri Gardin and Tamika Whitmore join Lindsay Whalen, Asjha Jones and Amber Holt. Whitmore came off the bench for the first time in Washington on Sunday.

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