score: Storm 82 Mercury 72 (W) (1-2)
Watch | Generally okay, the Phoenix player
who had the hiccups was a little distracting.
Psyche | FINALLY, THE SEASON IS HERE!
Highlight | Sue and DT trading 3 pointers,
LJ monster rejection
| Giant inflatable shoe (you had to be there)
Photos | Game
Photos (Scott Larson)
did I mention Angie and I moved to a new spot for this season?
During the offseason, season ticket holders are allowed to
come in and decide whether to keep their current seat location
or move to a new spot. When I showed up for our time slot
and started checking out the section 113 possibilities, a
golden ray of light pierced the upper bowl curtain and illuminated
two gloriously open seats. When I saw them, I knew it had
to be. I called Ang (via Susie's cell phone, excellent salesperson
that she is) and she agreed - we'd find a way to pay.
other than the fact that we upgraded our seats (big whoop),
why is this important? Location, location, location —
VIP section 13, row BB, seats 1 and 2 - right behind the Storm
of course means that my game reports, photos and just about
everything else this season is going to have a different perspective.
players are all incredibly polite. You might think that as
pro athletes, they wouldn't need to say please and thank you
to the helpers who take care of the water, towels, chairs,
etc along the bench. Everyone of them did, even after coming
off the floor when they got yanked before they wanted to come
out or had an altercation with one of the opponents.
I haven't heard anything about Kamila being injured, but it
looked like she might be wearing an abdominal or back wrap
of some sort.
Donovan doesn't talk a lot, but when she does they listen.
She got on the team after one of Taurasi's big shots in the
first half, telling them that they had to play her "stronger."
She also gave Tully her props when she came off after hitting
a couple big time shot clock killing threes. We've all seen
her pull a player and sit her down at the coaches' end of
the bench for one-on-one coaching. Tonight, she pulled Betty
Lennox at one point in the second half (after she picked up
her 4th foul I think) and let Betty go down the line getting
high fives — and fixed her Coach D Stare™ on Betty
the whole trip down the line and the whole trip back. Even
I was looking down and trying to avoid eye contact.
had a rough night. She got into foul trouble early and the
refs kept on her. She was pretty obviously dropping her shoulder
when she was driving through the Mercury defenders (one right
in front of us, although I'm not sure Betty could really knock
Penny Taylor down even if she was running at full speed).
After that foul, she tossed the ball to the ref and started
back up the floor and said something like (and I may have
misheard) "Just let me play." Either the ref didn't
hear or chose to ignore her.
of the big disadvantages to our new location - there are these
tall women who keep standing up in front of us. I unfortunately
missed LJ's monster block under the basket in front of the
bench because of these insensitive people.
game itself was really fun to watch, due in part to the fact
that the Storm looked a lot sharper than the two previous
preseason games made them out to be. The Storm looked, for
the most part, to be relaxed and gelling nicely. They did
relax a little too much in the second half and allowed the
Mercury to get back into it. Maybe you can coast on a 20-point
lead with 2 minutes left, but not at 9 or 10 minutes. But,
since it's a preseason game, I'm not going to go into a lot
of detail. Instead, here are my impressions of how all the
Jackson: She's still adjusting to the smaller WNBA
ball? Okay. If she is still getting used to it, does that
mean we can expect her to be averaging 40? It didn't look
like she had an offseason. LJ was dominant and the Mercury
had no one who could guard her.
Bird: Faster, stronger, and having some fun out there.
She and Diana were jawing a lot and got into a little 3-point
shoot out that had a "oh yeah, can you do this?"
tone to it. The good news is that Sue look comfortable running,
stopping and moving side to side - A LOT more comfortable
than last year.
Vodichkova: Now she looked like she was having a
little trouble with the ball. Other than that (and the possible
back stiffness), she looked strong, but was getting called
for some ticky tacky fouls. This happened last year too, and
I'm not sure why the refs seem to call her on stuff other
players are getting away with.
Edwards: For being jet lagged and only practicing
with the team for a day or so, Simone did pretty well. She
was very active and hit a couple of the chippy shots that
she sometimes missed in previous years.
Bevilaqua: Wow. Tully came back in great physical
shape (her arms looked a lot more defined than I remember)
and with determination. She played some strong minutes and
did a good job at the point when Sue was on the bench. She
did dribble the ball a little too long on a couple of possessions
that I remember, but overall she was sharp and her shot was
Barnes: First, it was great to see her back in uniform
and back on the court. I don't know where she would put herself
in terms of being 80% or 90% of her normal self, but with
that huge knee brace she wasn't able to move side to side
with the same quickness she had pre-ACL. Personally, I'm amazed
that she's back and legitimately competing for her starting
spot. She may not be at 100%, but she's close and will be
Sam: This is me doing a happy dance. With all due
respect to Sandy Brondello, I soooooo wanted Sheri Sam from
the Miami Sol dispersal. And now she is here. She didn't have
a great game tonight, but so what. She is my favorite kind
of player - tough, tenacious, fearless, can play defense and
score when she needs to. I'm so damn HAPPY!
Burse: I think I likes me some Janell Burse too.
She's fast, got loooong arms and is not afraid to get in there
are push some butts around. She may not get a starting spot,
but she could be starting if the WNBA had more teams. The
good news is that when Kamila comes out, we have another starter
to take her place.
Greco: Umm, holy smokes. She already seems to be
Coach D's go-to energizer. Every time the Storm were languishing
on defense or started to look tired or slow, it was "Greco,
let's go" and in she went. You look at her stat line,
see 1 TO and 5 points and think "Not much there."
You'd be wrong. She may have been the biggest surprise for
me of the game. I'd seen her play against Washington a couple
times (and light up the Huskies for 30 on one occasion), but
that was it. Whoa. She looked like a woman determined to win
a spot on the team. Let's hope she can sustain and build on
that energy and drive. Count me as a Greco fan.
Lennox: I wrote about Betty a little already. This
wasn't a very good game for her. Like I pointed out, she was
picking up fouls left and right. I think it was obvious that
she's got solid skills defensively and offensively, and perhaps
a rep with the refs. I'm not really that familiar with her
from her previous WNBA experience, so I'm going to stay open-minded.
I think if the fouls stay under control, she will be very
dangerous to the opposition.
Thompson: She also seemed to have some trouble holding
onto the ball. I don't know if she's been playing overseas
or in some other leagues here in the US, but she didn't seem
very comfortable. She also only had a few minutes on the court,
so it was hard to really get a read on her. Coach D seems
to like her, so I'll wait and see.
Williams: Body language told the story with "Shaq."
To me, it looked like she had already decided that the waiver
notice was on the way and she didn't have much of a chance.
Knowing that she has gotten cut (I'm writing this on Monday
night), maybe she was right. I'm of the opinion that while
you're on the team and breathing, you've got a chance. I didn't
see that from her during the game.
Walseth: Also cut on Monday. I thought she did pretty
well. She had a couple defensive stops right in front of the
bench that I thought were impressive, but I guess that wasn't
enough. She too had limited playing time, so it was hard to
see what she had to offer.
Gardner-Combs: Likewise, little playing time and
cut on Monday, hard to get a read during the game. All I can
say to Shaquala, Maren and Andrea is, "Good luck."
was a good game, fun to watch and did what a preseason game
should - whet the appetite for the regular season to start
as soon as possible. I have a good feeling about this...
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