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September 13, 2010 at 9:23 PM

Monday dribble: WNBA Finals, techs, and ponytails

MVP.jpgStorm PF Lauren Jackson escaped possible suspension in the WNBA Finals on Monday. A technical foul called in the fourth quarter of Game 1 was rescinded after review of the play against Atlanta F Sancho Lyttle.
The call made by Michael Price with 1:45 remaining in the matchup would have given the fiery red-head three technical fouls during the postseason. A fourth would mean a one-game suspension.
Storm coach Brian Agler discussed the call with the league, which tried to just rescind the call without an announcement. Fan interest apparently made them go public with the change. But the made FT for the original call stands.
“The way they discussed it with me was that after the play was over, there was contact,” Agler said. “That was their evaluation. That being said, there should have been about 20 technicals then.
“I talk to Lauren all the time about that (technicals). She’s a very intense player. She competes hard and she understands, the team understands. We’ll go from there.”
Jackson, who has calmed her potty mouth slightly in her 10 years, said being near the limit wasn’t going to stop her style of play. Pictured right by the Associated Press, Jackson expects Game 2 to be even more physical, calling for more passion when officials miss calls.
“I don’t know what constitutes a technical foul in this league, I think they’re quite random,” said Jackson, who had a game-high 26 points in Sunday’s 79-77 win. “There’s nothing I can do about it.”
Dream coach Marynell Meadors also had discussions with the league after Game 1. She was most displeased with how the final offensive play for Seattle was called, where Jackson used her 6-foot-5 frame to ensnarl Lyttle and G Armintie Price while Storm star Sue Bird cleared space for the eventual game-winning jumper.
“In my opinion it was a rolling screen and a wrap and I won’t say any more beyond that,” Meadors said. “It worked, but maybe we tried. Throughout the game, we did a pretty fair job with it (covering Jackson). But the thing that hurt us the most was they just kicked the ball out and hit threes.”
And as for the fouls?
“It seemed like early in the game, everything was a foul, and then they let everything go,” Meadors said. “Players are trying to adjust and that’s really hard on both teams.”
BISHOP HEALING: Jackson rushed to the hospital with Australian countrywoman Abby Bishop, who suffered a concussion toward the end of practice on Monday. Bishop was playing a normal game against the male squad and was hit in the head. She was listed as day-to-day.
McCourty suffered a head injury, needing three stitches after contact against Storm F Jana Vesela. Both were able to return to the game and practice on Monday, however.
“It’s alright, but it could be better,” said McCoughtry of the injury. She finished with 19 points and four rebounds in the loss. “For some reason I slept for a long, long time. They told me not to, but I couldn’t help it. I was knocked out cold.”
WENT THERE: Dream G Kelly Miller played her most significant minutes since Aug. 10 with she suffered a high right ankle sprain. She appeared in six minutes, scoring two points and getting two assists.
“It felt good just to be back out there into a game situation and stuff,” said Miller, whose twin Coco played in her place during the injury-plagued month. “Our mood is pretty good. We didn’t play as well as we’re capable of playing. There were a lot of things we could improve on, but we’re looking forward to the challenge. We’ll be ready.”
Meadors hopes to play Miller more, which would mean more of that infamous ponytail the twins wear. I asked Kelly when was the last time they let it fly free and she was either surprisingly stumped or appalled.
“We like to be casual,” she said. “It was probably a month ago, I don’t know.”
BAD MEDIA: Bird thinks she’ll never top Cappie Pondexter and Diana Taurasi for postseason awards because of the numbers they post and the type of electric players they are. But ESPN columnist Mechelle Voepel and myself were disappointed in our peers for not finding a way to put the PG on first-team All-WNBA.
“I think a lot of times people look at numbers,” Agler said. “But she makes people around her play at their maximum. So, am I disappointed? Yeah, I’m very disappointed. I’m disappointed for her because in the three years that I’ve been here, she’s been exceptional. She even got quite a few votes for MVP this year and probably should have got it two years ago if everybody would have sat back and looked at what really happened to our team and what she did to really get us to where we were.”
ADJUSTMENTS: Meadors wants the Dream to play better defense, especially inside the paint. The team sagged too much, allowing the Storm open three-pointers. Seattle was 6-for-16 from three-point range, Jackson nailing four in the game.
“I think she (Jackson) was comfortable,” McCoughtry said. “In this situation, a key player can’t feel comfortable. We helped off Jackson too much, you can’t help off Jackson. I feel we need to face-guard her. I feel if it’s tough for me to score and do the things I want to do, then it should be for her, too.”



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