I’m not sure if anyone else felt this way, but I was way more hurt after yesterday’s game than today’s. Yesterday I was pacing around like a crazy woman afterwards, and finally left the house not really knowing where I was going. (I ended up at the gym, of course). Today I was just sad. Things weren’t going our way, and the Silver Stars are a very good basketball team. They have some incredible defense, great ball movement and amazing shooting. It also didn’t help that the referees were horrendous again, and were letting Becky Hammon foul away freely. I was pretty OK when the game ended, but got a little sad about an hour and a half ago. I haven’t been this sorry to see a season end before.
I don’t know if we could have handled it if we would have made it to the finals. There are still too many glaring holes in our game. One of the biggest for me all season long as been the lack of offense geared towards the posts. There is no high-low game, and that’s one thing I thought would be a staple for sure, given that we have the two best posts in the league. Secondly, why can’t we shoot the lights out from outside, like San Antonio? We should be able to do that. And why aren’t we experts at the free throw line? Finally, where’s our stifling defense?
These questions will undoubtedly be answered over the off-season. In the meantime, I’m really concerned about our two rookies – both of whom have played non-stop for a year now.
Candace Parker dislocated her shoulder six months ago, and has kept playing on it. She is about as mentally tough as they come, but I sense she’s not only physically but emotionally drained, because sometimes lately she’ll seem to zone out briefly during games.
I’m a sensitive schmuck, and I pay attention. Unless I’m really exhausted, I notice just about everything, and saw a couple things our rookies did the last two games that gave us a brief glimpse into where their heads are at.
Yesterday, as that last shot went in, Sophia Young started rolling around on the floor. A few feet away, Parker sank down to her knees on the same floor and put her head on it. The camera was focused on the Stars, but you could see Parker on the bottom right of the screen. For a woman who pretty much always has her game face on, that was amazing to see, as was her reaction to a foul called on her today late in the fourth quarter. The camera showed her, dead on, in complete disbelief. She was just standing there saying “what?” over and over, and I thought she was going to start crying, for real. Here’s the side view:
She seemed to be completely torn up about it, which bothered me.
Then there is Shannon Bobbitt. The girl is a real rookie, unlike her teammate, but she didn’t get much of a chance to be treated like one. She was thrust into the starting position when Temeka Johnson left the team to care for her dying grandmother, and the others weren’t performing as expected. Bobbitt shouldn’t have been put in the role, though, because she wasn’t ready. She should have been groomed for it, but she found herself in over her head. No doubt she was feeling pressure, and fans and journalists were relentless in criticizing the Spark guards all season, including today.
Cooper had told his guards to step up and shoot today, and Bobbitt tried. She did score a couple times, but she also missed some shots. I thought I read defeat on Bobbitt’s face today, and then came her last foul in the fourth quarter. She was chasing Hammon toward the left corner, and Hammon tumbled out of bounds:
Bobbitt landed on her stomach, and Hammon’s lower leg slightly brushed her head as she flew into the camera zone. Bobbitt looked up at the ref who had whistled the ball dead, and then she put her head down on her hands and just laid on the floor, face down, for several seconds.
Our poor girls. I am worried about them both, for different reasons.
I wanted to open up the floor for discussion and observation. Was there anything anyone saw in either this game or the New York-Detroit games this weekend that provided insight into the state of mind of the player? Please share. Because I’ve always believed that it’s this kind of stuff that is the most important thing in life: figuring out the real stories behind the fronts.