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6/11/04 vs Connecticut Sun

Final score: Storm 68 – Sun 63 (W) (5-2)

Attendance | 7012

Anthem Watch | I don't think the night requires any proof that the flag was still there

Fan Psyche | No more week-long layoffs please

Game Highlight | Lots of Vitamin K

Halftime | Some kind of dance troupe thing

Flopometer | Betty was the victim of a vicious offensive charge committed by Nykesha Sales (the Storm don't flop)

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Fugly

Game Photos | Game Photos (Scott Larson) | Game Photos (Christine Nelson)

Just about the only good thing to come out of this unsatisfying game (yes, it was a win, but it didn't feel like one) was that Kamila looked like her old rock steady self again. She scored a double double with 18 points and 10 rebounds and was pretty much able to do anything she wanted whenever she wanted (except hit her free throws).

The Sun were really jamming Lauren early in the game and Kamila was able to capitalize, although KV was hitting from everywhere and not only in the post. She looked very comfortable with her shot and was much more aggressive on defense than she's been in the earlier games this season. I've speculated a couple of times that I thought she might have some back pain or something because it looked like she had been wearing a wrap around her lower back. The biggest benefit from the week off the Storm had was that Kamila got over whatever it was that had been bothering her.

One curious thing though, and I tried to get a picture of it to see if anyone could identify what it is - Kamila had what looked like a plastic support structure inside her shoes, and they didn't look like they were part of the shoes. They looked like some sort of insert. I don't know that I've heard that Kamila has ever had any trouble with her feet or ankles, so I can't say that they are there to alleviate an injury or something. All I can say is that they are blue, which is what caught my attention.

Anyway, the good news is that Kamila had a great game and it was fortuitous that it came tonight because the Storm were rusty — and that's being a little generous.

Actually, both teams were frustrated — at the refs who called some really weird stuff tonight, and at their own teammates. On the Sun, Katie Douglas was jawing at Debbie Black. Sales was jawing at pretty much everyone. The Storm were sniping at each other a bit too. Betty fought off Lauren for a rebound and got a reminder that she's not the only one out there. There was also a lot more "directing traffic" going on during offensive sets because players weren't where they needed to be and were instead doing a lot of standing around.

Betty and Lauren led the frustration parade for the Storm. It has been reported in the local press that Betty has an injury that kept her from practicing much this past week. Two or three times tonight, she would come off the floor and head into the tunnel with the trainer to get a wrap she had on her right thigh retaped because it seemed to keep coming apart. On one occasion when she walked past the bench, I could see it hanging down past the hem of her shorts. In addition to having that distraction, Betty was getting burned by the bigger Sun guards and small forwards and Coach D kept pulling her out. Betty was very unhappy most of the game.

Lauren was also getting very frustrated both by the very physical Sun defenders and the loopy refs. Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Wendy Palmer and Asjha Jones all took turns making LJ's life more difficult — which you would expect since she is the reigning MVP. LJ's going to be the big target for any defense and normally she is able to adapt to it without overtly showing any signs of frustration. Tonight, she was able to still score 22 in spite of all the elbows and body blows she received from the Sun, but I think she let them get to her because she was cussing up a storm out there. It also showed in that she was forcing her offense more so than she normally does. I think one of the great things about LJ's game is that she can find ways to score seemingly without worked too hard. I'm not saying she isn't working hard because she is usually double teamed. What I'm saying is that she is very efficient at finding smart opportunities to score and does it within the flow of the game very well. Tonight she wasn't in the flow and was trying to force baseline drives to the basket against solid defenses. The unfortunate result is that she would get hacked with no call or miss the basket which would feed the frustration. Kind of a vicious circle.

All in all, a fairly unsatisfying win and one that I know did not make for a happy coach. Coach D had that look on her face as she left the court - the look that means someone is going to be running wind sprints tomorrow in practice. I'm hoping that it was just the long time off between games and that going on the road might be a good thing - the Storm can get back into a playing groove. Being on the road can also help the team get their focus back because the home distractions will fall away. I'm hoping that I'm right because our next game will be for first place in the league, and the Liberty are hot hot hot.

Other notes:

Sue's mom was at the game and sitting a couple rows behind us.

Recently on the forum, people were discussing the types of shoes the players are wearing, so I tried to get a couple shots of shoes. One interesting shoe note - Janell Burse has a Bible verse written in the arch of her left shoe. Most of the players are wearing the same Reebok style, but Janell, Sue, Lauren and Sheri have different brands/styles.

We had three female refs tonight. It seems like a long time since that has happened, not that they were any better than a mixed crew. Being closer to the game, I've been noticing more about how the refs work the games. One thing that caught my eye is that they signal each other a lot, especially when the teams are in transition. One time, I clearly saw one of the sideline refs signal "33" to the baseline ref. Sure enough, Janell got a call against her during the next play. It seems that if one ref is telling another to "watch out" for a certain player before the play has even begun, isn't that unfairly putting the focus on one player when the ref should be equally watching everyone as much as possible? I'm sure this is a common thing for them and I'm just noticing it for the first time, but it doesn't seem like they should be doing that.

Doppler did his normal timeout choo-choo train thing and it finally went awry since at least a couple kids were still running around the court after play had resumed. We're going to get a technical one of these days, not to mention the times that a kid has walked right up and into the Storm huddle. If this choo-choo thing is a keeper, someone has to at least shield the teams from getting bothered by opportunistic kids.

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