score: Storm 75 Monarchs 61 (W) (10-4)
Watch | We are 2 for 2 on solid anthem renditions.
Psyche | #&$!* refs!
Highlight | Sue hits a layup, steals the inbounds
and hits another layup. LJ hitting 3 threes to start the game.
| Dribbling and passing skills competition.
| The Flounder Queen was in fine flopping
form and went 4 and 1 — and she blew eclair a kiss.
Keyword of the Game | Ha-ha!
Photos | Game
Photos (Scott Larson)
are two elements of this game that deserve some big time appreciation
— LJ's magnificent performance and the fact that the
Storm won in spite of the refs and the Monarchs "we play
ugly" game plan.
we always cry and complain about the refs — but tonight
was one of those Hall of Sucking Fame nights that used to
mess with the Storm players' heads. Certainly during the first
three years, but even to an extent last season too, when the
refs inserted themselves so intrusively into the course of
the game the Storm would allow it to get to them. The refs'
calls may not have decided the game outright, but the players
and coaches would get so frustrated with the horrible calls
that they would lose their focus and more often than not they
would also lose the game.
I think we saw the benefits from having a more mature team.
LJ shook off the refs and DeMya... I can't even type the rest
of her name, my rage is still set at Volcanic... and reminded
everyone that she is the league's reigning MVP. The Monarchs
HAD to resort to flops, slaps and elbows to try to slow LJ
down and it only made her play with more domination. Lauren
may have had some poor performances against Sacramento in
the past, but she's found a way to let their hack tactics
roll off her back and keep her head in the game. When she
does, she owns her opponents.
the game out with three three-pointers certainly helped put
the Monarchs on their heels immediately and reminded them
that LJ can score from everywhere. It was LJ 11 and the Monarchs
0 before Sac was able to get a basket. The Storm kept them
at arms' length for awhile, and then Sacramento turned on
their vaunted defense and with some crappy assed calls from
the Suck-o-bots were able to get within 6. Then the Storm
turned on their much better and more appropriately vaunted
defense and put the Monarchs back on their butts.
Monarchs' starters were all kept to under 10 points each.
The Monarchs' bench outscored their starters and the only
Sac players in double figures were two of their bench players.
Even with a world class player like Yolanda and the overrated
Pinicherio, it was Brunson and Maiga that kept the game from
being a 30-point blow out. Sacramento fans may see that as
a good sign that their bench produced really well —
while they ignore the fact that their five starters shot 9-37
give the Monarchs a little credit. They didn't give up completely
when the lead did get to 30. They stayed after it and took
advantage of the Storm, who did relax a little too early and
got the score down far enough that Coach Donovan pulled the
bench and put the starters back in with a few minutes left
in the game. Yes, we won, but I think the bench is going to
be hearing it in practice this week.
and Sheri both had solid games. Sheri did her part to keep
the defense honest by driving to the basket again and again
— either getting the basket, a foul or both. I think
that any time the Monarchs got a little too settled in their
focus on LJ, Sheri or Sue would drive hard to the basket or
pop a jumper from outside and force the Monarchs to leave
their double teams on Lauren. In a way, one of the reasons
LJ was able to score 32 was because Sue and Sheri were taking
more of the offense upon themselves. When they start scoring
more and demand the defense's attention, LJ ends up with fewer
double teams and is free to do her thing. It's beautiful when
the offense is clicking.
not to say that Coach Donovan was satisfied with her players'
performances. The Storm allowed waaaaay too many Monarchs'
fast breaks, and again missed too many easy layups themselves.
The Storm had a couple stretches were their offensive spacing
was off and they looked a little confused as to where the
ball was supposed to go. Okay, I'm nitpicking now, but this
is the kind of stuff that will allow a good team to take control
of the game and believe me when I say that these mental lapses
were driving Coach D crazy.
other thing that was driving Coach Donovan crazy was watching
the Flounder in action — and watching the Three Asuckos
buy the Flounder's act 4 out of 5 times. Talk about a spiraling
whirlpool of negative reinforcement - the Flounder flops,
the refs buy it and start thinking that LJ is playing too
aggressively, they reward the Flounder who then flops again
which confirms to the refs that LJ really is too aggressive
and reward the Flounder again who then... and so on. The flop
as performed by the Flounder is one of the laziest defensive
moves a player can pull. She is basically admitting that she's
got nothing left and is so overmatched that her only recourse
is to act like she's been shot in the chest. Here's a hint
to the Sucksters - when someone has actually been shoved or
hit in the chest, they don't fall down like their feet are
on a hinge and then slide back 10 feet. I doubt any WNBA player
could hit another so hard to create that kind of reaction
unless she was running at full speed. There is no way any
player except Shaq has the kind of power necessary to knock
a defender across the floor by doing a pivot move. When a
person gets hit in the chest for real, they might stumble
back or flail their arms a bit. In fact, if it real, their
chest and torso get knocked back, but their arms don't immediately
and it almost looks like they are jutting their arms forward.
When the refs call an offensive foul after an obvious flop
— and let's be honest, DeMya is not a good actress —
it means they aren't really paying attention to the play and
are instead reacting after the fact. So not only is a flop
a piss-poor way to play defense, it's a piss-poor way to ref
a game. The only way you can describe either is that they
are admitting they are overmatched and aren't able to really
do their jobs as a defender or a ref. Eclair was right last
night when she yelled out during a free throw that DeMya is
an embarrassment. So are the refs.
best part of all of this — the flopping, the horrible
calls, the ugly Monarchs' style — was that the Storm
overcame all of it and firmly demonstrated which was the better
team. Enjoy your stay in the basement, Sacramento.
group of Monarchs fans made the trip and got to feel a little
of our pain from last year when we went down there.
Greco joined the Street Clothes gang and looked like she was
still limping a bit. A lot of people were looking forward
to a UW / UCLA rematch of sorts with Michelle playing against
Guiliana Mendiola, but Michelle was chilling on the bench
and Guili stayed in Sacramento with the flu. We'll have to
wait until Sept. 1 for another rematch opportunity. Michelle
did do some shoulder warm-up exercises as the game wound down
so that she was ready to toss t-shirts into the crowd.
had a bigger crowd than I was expecting given that it is a
holiday weekend. Have we gotten to the point that we can expect
close to 7000 all the time (Spokane didn't count) and closer
to 9000 for the big games? We still have about 2/3rds of the
season to go, but I think the Storm may be seeing a glimmer
of the light at the end of the attendance woe tunnel.
went to the Kangaroo and Kiwi after the game for a little
bit. As I expected, crowded to the walls, but it seemed like
a pretty cool place.
looked a TON better tonight. She is reportedly trying to stay
away from the pain medication she was prescribed because she
doesn't like how it makes her feel. I can appreciate that
as an athlete she wants to be very careful about what she
puts into her body and that she is tough as nails and don't
need no stinkin' pain relievers, but we won't think any less
of her if she were more comfortable and pain-free.
got to be one of the kids who gets an autographed ball from
the players during the introductions. Good for her.
came out with a trail of blood down one of her shins from
a cut on her knee. She also had a nice floor burn raspberry
on the side of the same knee. As the trainer patched her up,
one of her teammates asked her if she was okay. She waved
her hand and said, "Meh." Ah, Tully.