What Night to be a Fan!

Last night's game against Connecticut was the best game I've seen all season...

Lucky for me, I got to sit courtside and watch it as a fan.

Normally, Kym Hampton and I are either in the booth or in the studio calling the Live Access games, but last night Mike Crispino and Mary Murphy had the call, and a great one at that.

As broadcasters familiar with the team and the WNBA, we knew how tough a match-up Connecticut was for the Libs. They had already beaten the team twice this season. The Libs have seen the scouting reports and watched the film. Even Cappie Pondexter, the Captain, didn't sugarcoat the Sun's talent telling me before the All-Star break, "they are very strong and very consistent with what they do. They know the gameplan and what they are good at. And they are playing well all across the league. They're solid, just a terrific team"

Last night what Connecticut did well was run the floor, and execute the back door cut better than any team I've seen in this league. And then, there was Tina Charles. The New York City native, who had a staunch fan base in the house, cheering on her 29 point-14 rebound performance. But as much as the Connecticut All-Star tried to steal the show, the Liberty kept coming back, because players kept stepping up.

At the end of the first quarter, the Liberty were up by three. The end of the second: down by one. The end of the third, down by 15. And by the end of fourth, the game was tied at 73 and headed to overtime. Kara Braxton, the most recent addition to the Liberty roster, is a 2-time WNBA champion and former All-Star. She knows what it takes to win, but when playing with a new team, experience can take you only so far. As she explained, timing is everything.

Unhappy with her offensive performance after Tuesday's game against Washington, Braxton said, "I'm just trying to do whatever else I can to help the team, whether it be passing, defense, blocks... I'm getting used to the girls and the new system. It just takes time."

Last night, Braxton finished with eight points, nine rebounds, and two assists in twenty-one minutes of play, her longest time on the floor with the Liberty to date.

Braxton's teammates complemented her strong play with more of the same. Leilani Mitchell knocked down three 3-pointers, Plenette Pierson tallied 7 rebounds and gutted out a gritty performance while taking numerous shots to her shoulder and Essence Carson continued to show why her jersey is No. 3 in the WNBA, putting in 19 points to go with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 steals. And how about Kia Vaughn? A definite contender for this year's Most Improved Player award (she has my vote) dominated the paint. In shape and in charge, Vaughn impressed with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 huge blocks.

And then there was Cappie.

Everyone expects Pondexter to make the bigs play in the big moments. You expect it all the time, no matter if you're a teammate, opponent, reporter, or fan. You get the sense that the WNBA All-Star and Top 15 Most Influential Player of All-Time has come to expect it of herself as well. When the game is on the line, she wants the ball in her hands. Fadeway jumpers, 3-pointers at the buzzer, and dazzling one-on-ones gave every spectator in the arena exactly what they paid the price of admission for: Greatness, wrapped up in a fiery, 5'9" frame.

Pondexter finished with 27 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 blocked shot in 45 exhausting minutes of play.

When the final buzzer sounded and the scoreboard read NYL 84 - CON 81, everyone was out of there seats, including Kym and I, high-fiving, cheering, and relishing in such an awesome display of basketball.

But you can only celebrate for so long. For the team, it's back to the grind with a three-game road swing, and for this fan, it's back to work in the booth!