Sports : Hustle and Flow

San Antonio’s other professional basketball franchise, the Silver Stars, started their recent three-game home stand on a promising note. Their national television contest with the Houston Comets resulted in a tight 67-64 victory and showcased the skills of center Chantelle Anderson, who paced the team with 17 points and 6 rebounds. As with most Silver Stars home games, the vibe in the arena was loose yet festive, although it’s still disappointing that songs like “Laffy Taffy” are getting played at WNBA games.

The Stars followed up the win with a rough 80-77 loss to the Washington Mystics in a thrilling game that was punctuated by an alarming note: In the opening moments of the second half, Anderson suffered a season-ending kneecap injury that could affect the team’s chances of making the playoffs. One bright spot was the kinetic play of new fan favorite Agnieszka “Biba” Bibrzycka, the Polish Marie Ferdinand, who led the Stars in scoring with 19 points.

“I’m proud of the way we fought back. We gave all we had. I would have liked to see us finish one more play, but you can’t fault them.”

- Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes

After the game, coach Dan Hughes, who has done an admirable job this season, reflected on the defeat and the injury to Anderson. “I’m proud of the way we fought back,” said Hughes. “We gave all we had. I would have liked to see us finish one more play, but you can’t fault them. `Washington` put us in a situation and made it a hard game through the post, with the fouls and the loss of Chantelle Anderson ... `Our guys` understand and appreciate that it was one play `that could have won the game` but let’s get past it. We’ll rest tonight and come back tomorrow and go back to work.”

The next night, the fatigued Stars fell to the Connecticut Sun in a lethargic 79-61 loss. All-Star forward Sophia Young repeatedly attempted to spark the team; her 16 points and 11 boards kept the contest respectable. Center Katie Feenstra matched Young on the glass with 11 rebounds, and her comments from the night before again rang true: “The East has a lot of really good post players,” Feenstra said. “Not that we don’t in the West, but the East has strong players ... We always have to keep that `tough, rebounding` mentality going.”

With an 11-13 record, 10 games remaining on their schedule, and only nine active players, the Stars must rebound both mentally and physically from these tough losses and crucial injuries — at perhaps the most critical point of their season. They are currently ranked sixth in their conference, in a format that awards a playoff berth to the top four teams. Veteran Vickie Johnson will be a key factor during this final stretch. The Stars have failed to make the playoffs during their tenure in San Antonio; accomplishing that feat could introduce them to an entirely new audience. Thanks to changes in the formatting and pace of the game, including four actual quarters and a shortened shot clock, WNBA fans are now treated to a faster, more fluid game where fundamentals reign supreme.

Next up for the Stars are home games against the Los Angeles Sparks and the Phoenix Mercury. For its 10th anniversary, the WNBA has rolled out the slogan “Have you seen her?” It’s a good question. Having already proven adept at winning on the road earlier this season, the Silver Stars could definitely use a fan-driven, Spurs-type, home-court advantage as they make a final push towards the post-season. Don’t keep them waiting.


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