Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Working overtime

Pretty sure it wasn't the intention of either team, but the Connecticut Sun and New York Liberty managed to extend the WNBA preseason schedule all by themselves.

The Tuesday morning game needed three overtimes before the host Liberty emerged with an 89-84 win. Make no mistake, this was an exhibition in name only. The players and coaches pulled out all the stops in this one.

The play of the game was Cappie Pondexter's block of a Kara Lawson layup attempt in the second overtime. If Lawson converts, Connecticut is up four with less than 20 seconds to go. Instead Pondexter blocked the shot, grabbed the ball and fired an outlet pass to Essence Carson for the game-tying basket. Even more impressive was that Pondexter made the play shortly after picking up her fifth foul.

A few observations:
First, at first glance the lines of Pondexter (14 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists) and Montgomery (8 points, four rebounds and three assists) look decent but they were a combined 10 of 40 from the floor. Montgomery had as shaky a game as I have seen from her. Twice she was stripped clean of the ball near midcourt, first by Pondexter and then by Leilani Mitchell. She had chances to win the game at the end of regulation and with time running out in the second overtime and misfired badly.

Second, whoever was keeping offensive rebound stats were not watching the same game I was. The final totals had Connecticut with 19 and New York with 16. I find those numbers hard to believe. NY owned the offensive glass and wish I had a tape of the game to break down the numbers.

Third, Tan White is going to make quite an impact for the Sun this season. She had eight points in rapid succession the last time out and on Tuesday she was phenomenal defensively on Pondexter. The number that jumps out at me is that White played 33:15 with a fair chunk of that time guarding Pondexter and was not called for a foul. It was quite impressive.

I also found it interesting the way the coaches divvied up minutes. In the second quarter the Sun used nine players and the Liberty 11 but in overtime both coaches went mostly with a six-player rotation. Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault did not make a sub in either the first or second overtime and was forced to make a move when Montgomery fouled out in the third overtime. It does not bode well that undrafted rookies May Kotsopoulos and Judie Lomax did not get in the game for the Sun. Kerri Gardin played 7:27 in the second quarter and did not play again.

For New York, Sidney Spencer did not play in the fourth quarter or any of the three overtimes, Ashley Houts did not play after seeing 4:35 of action in the second quarter while Erlana Larkins also saw a decent amount of playing time in the second quarter but never came back in again. While I have no idea what is going through the minds of Thibault and his New York coaching counterpart Ann Donovan, I would not be surprised to see either team scouring the waiver wire. There are going to be some very good players cut in the next couple of days. Erica White was just cut by Atlanta and I think she would be a nice fit as a reserve point guard in New York. Will Connecticut look at grab a wing? It's kind of hard to bring in a player just to be here until Sandrine Gruda reports but Thibault made it clear he will keep his eyes open. Would the recent news that Phoenix cut former Oklahoma stars Nyeshia Stevenson and Ashley Paris pique his interest? Time will tell.

One player not getting cut is former UConn star Kalana Greene. I spoke to the New York Liberty after she shared team scoring honors with 14 points and although there was not room for a story on her in tomorrow's paper, I will be putting together a story on her which should run in the next day or two.

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