Comet comeback looking doubtful vs. Monarchs

Updated: August 18, 2006, 8:04 PM ET
By Mechelle Voepel | Special to ESPN.com

The playoffs are underway, and they didn't get off to such an exciting start in terms of thrilling contests Thursday. If you watched the Detroit-Indiana game, though, you got to experience some of that great technology that allows the coaches to wear a microphone throughout the game.

Bill Laimbeer
Michael Conroy /AP PhotoThanks to live microphones, fans could hear everything Shock coach Bill Laimbeer -- and his assistants, players and seemingly everyone within 10 yards -- said during Thursday's Game 1.

So during the broadcast, you heard the announcers, the sideline reporter, the head coaches and bits of anyone in the vicinity of the coaches. It's the WNBA's own McLaughlin Group, a cacophony of hoops.

Of course, we writers typically don't have gadgetry. It's just us plugging away on the keyboard … except … well, I've decided to try an experiment. Six "fans" of the WNBA teams who did not make the playoffs have been "mic'ed" during the writing of this column to share their thoughts.

I figure this could be really interesting, and probably won't be confusing or distracting …

LIBERTY OR DEATH: Fine. I don't even care anymore. We aren't in the playoffs. Fine. I needed some downtime anyway to reorganize my Sue Wicks autograph collection. But … I'm telling you, the Liberty front office is a freaking environmental disaster! It's polluted another of my summers! They're trying to drive me into the asylum and …

… to you readers because people obviously can focus on multiple sources all saying different things at once. I mean, no problem. Now, about the Houston-Sacramento series, it seems as if the Monarchs are coming together at just the right time. Kara Lawson is feeling better after being slowed by illness at the start of the season and DeMya Walker is continuing her comeback after giving birth.

Meanwhile, all the injuries have piled up on Houston, and it just doesn't appear the Comets have …

THINKLYNX: Excuse me, Liberty, but I believe you're slightly overreacting. We're disappointed in Minnesota, too, but we're dealing with it. We got Seimone Augustus, the No. 1 pick in the draft, then the next thing you know, nobody else on our team can score more than eight points a game and our coach has to resign and we're watching former Lynx star Katie Smith playing for leather-lung Laimbeer in the playoffs …

… enough consistency at this point to be able to make a comeback and win two games in Sacramento. We don't want to say it's impossible, of course, because when you have players such as Sheryl Swoopes, Dawn Staley and Tina Thompson, there's always hope.

That is, if all of them play up to their capabilities in Game 2, which certainly wasn't the case in the opener.

It's a shame we never got to see Houston with all its parts relatively healthy throughout this season. Van Chancellor said his team really, really missed the presence of Dominique Canty for much of the season. Thompson was out a large chunk of time, too, so …

THINKLYNX: … and our Lindsay Whalen is trying to lead Connecticut to a championship instead of being here with the Lynx. And our Janel McCarville is wasting away in Charlotte …

STUNG: Hey, I take offense to that.

THINKLYNX: … and we already had to deal with Benedict Arnold Frese taking her Maryland team to the NCAA championship in April. And …

… what we're seeing is not really the Houston team that Chancellor envisioned when the season started. Meanwhile …

LIBERTY OR DEATH: Overreacting?! You have no idea what we go through here in New York. Listen to this! A source close to the team, who is now dating my sister's ex-girlfriend, told me that the Liberty is considering trading Becky Hammon to Hofstra for two freshmen to be named later! And you have the nerve to say I'm …

… back in the East, Detroit actually is looking a lot like Laimbeer wants his group to look. OK, there was Cheryl Ford's bizarre behavior, which we assume will get ironed out. Whatever the problem was, Ford didn't look good. She's having an amazing season, and she needs to come back in Game 2 and show …

LIBERTY OR DEATH: … overreacting!? Look, ThinkLynx, why don't you go take an ice bath in one of your 10,000 lakes or chase a caribou or elect a wrestler or whatever it is you people do there in faux Canada!

MR. MERC: Uh-oh, somebody needs a nap.

… the kind of competitor she really is. Because all of Laimbeer's bombast and jokes and orchestrated, amusing hubris aside, he knows full well it's his players who'll need to finish off the Fever, not him. And …

I SAW STARS: Liberty, you are getting downright paranoid! You know New York would ask Hofstra for at least two juniors to be named later. And, by the way …

… Indiana isn't going to just collapse and give up. But if the Shock get another splendid performance from Deanna Nolan and the inside game is …

I SAW STARS: … I didn't care for your threatening text message saying if the Silver Stars don't send Vickie Johnson back to New York ASAP, you know "some people" in San Antonio who will come "visit" me. What -- now you think I'm responsible for VJ leaving the Big Apple? You are P-S-Y-C-H-O!

MR. MERC: People! Chill on the name-calling! We're all a little stressed because our teams are done. Well, except me, because I am already stoked about next season. You heard it here first: If Dee and Cappie can each average 55 points a game, I guaran-damn-tee you we WILL be in the 2007 playoffs!

… as strong as usual, Detroit will move on. The Shock have the benefit of being one of the healthier teams in the league this season …

LIBERTY OR DEATH: Cappie! Cappie! We want Cappie in the Garden! She's from Rutgers, just like Sue Wicks! You desert rats, send Cappie home!

SKYGUY: Actually, Cappie is "from" Chicago, so if the Mercury are going to be forced to send her anywhere, it's the Windy City. Because we just might want more than five victories next season.

MR. MERC: Forget it, Skyguy. Cappie's not going anywhere. But perhaps we could interest you in Sandora Irvin …

LIBERTY OR DEATH: Hah! I'll bet we're trading Shameka Christon, Barb Farris and Kelly Schumacher for her! I'm out of here. I'm done. One of my friends just bought a bagel that she said is in the EXACT shape of T-Spoon's forehead and I have to see this.

… so maybe it really is time to watch out for Detroit.

Oh, and have I mentioned Sacramento's Yolanda Griffith? She didn't make my ballot for the All-WNBA first or second teams, and that seemed weird. But now it's playoff time, and Griffith looked like her usual self in Game 1 vs. Houston with 16 points and nine rebounds.

STUNG: Can I get a word in edgewise? I mean, we did win two of our last three games here in Charlotte and ...

Sorry, the column's over.

Mechelle Voepel of The Kansas City Star is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. She can be reached at mvoepel123@yahoo.com.

Mechelle Voepel joined ESPN.com in 1996 and covers women's college hoops, the WNBA, the LPGA, and additional collegiate sports for espnW.

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