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7/08/04 at Charlotte

Final score: Storm 67 – Sting 70 (L) (10-6)

Submitted by | Bbfan1960

Greetings from the east coast.  I made my annual 90 mile trip to see my Storm play the Sting last night and i thought I would share my take on the game.  
First of all I thought the Storm played a pretty good game.  The offense was up to par and I didn't think the defense was really that bad either.  I have to give my props to the Sting. They made the plays when they had to.  J. Evans article in the Times was a little rough on LJ. On the airball she mentioned with three minutes to go she failed to point out LJ was solidly whacked on the forearm as she released the shot.  At least hat is what I saw from my 2nd row seat.  I thought LJ played a heck of a game, just how high do we set the bar for her?  Sue totally outplayed Dawn Staley and some of the criticism she has been getting is totally unjustified.  With 38 seconds to go, and down by two she had a clear path to the basket and Sutton-Brown literally came out of nowhere to make a great defensive play.  The next trip down LJ and Kamila both were totally mugged under the basket.  The officials completely swollowed their whistles the final three minutes when the Storm had the ball.  However, I felt the turning point of the game was about the middle of the second half when the Sting made their run, the Storm went into what I like to call their "Easter Island Offense."  This is when the point guard dribbles around aimlessly and the other four players stand totally still like statues buried up to their waist in sand.  This usually results in a turnover or a forced shot.  Tully throwing up a bailout with the shot clock expiring is not my idea of a good play.  Anyway, they did snap out of it after a few minutes and came back to tie.  Sure, this one we should have won, but given the balance of the league with the exception of SASS anyone can win on any given night.  So far the Storm have lost two games by having an opposing player play the game of their life.  By the end of the season, I'm confident the ball will start bouncing our way.  I thought Burse and Sam had sub par games and that clearly made a difference.  Anyhow, I hope what I saw was a finals preview, so I can see the Storm again before next year.  I'm not discouraged, I see the goal is to reach the playoffs and not worry about LA for now, because I think we can beat them when the games really count.

Although Betty did not have a stellar defensive game she did get called for a couple of ticky-tack fouls that hurt.  One being on a three by Feaster if I recall correctly.  If there was contact it was minimal, at least in the context of how the came was being called otherwise.  Adia made a great steal and was fouled on a breakaway but bricked the free throw, a real momentum killer.  On one Storm TO Sue dove head first into the bench after the ball, even though she was not successful with the save, the crowd appreciated the heart.  Any talk of Sue panicking is nonsense.  Other teamates standing around contribute significantly to her TO total, along with the non-calls on fouls. Note to LJ, Kamila, Betty and Sheri,  I may be wrong but it seems when Sue misses a J it is usually short off the front of the rim.  Take a page from Dennis Rodman's book, (figuratively) study your teammates misses, and ANTICIPATE the rebound. Garbage baskets off of offensive rebounds can make the difference in close games. I know this is easier said than done.  Adia Barnes played a lot better than I expected.  She looks slow and not very athletic but she had a great nose for the ball last night and played good position defense and had decent foot speed despite that brace.  Michelle was in street clothes. She was wearing open heel shoes you could see her ankle was heavily taped and she was favoring it.  Regardless of AD remarks, the Storm did not appear fatigued to me.  The breaks just didn't fall their way at the end. Tynesia Lewis played the game of her life, and I'll bet she does not come anywhere close to duplicating her effort the rest of the season.

Submitted by | JimmyK

Before the game, while me and Evil Doug were waiting to be in a Sting promo shoot thing, we saw Sue run off the court and sign some autographs.  Very cool.  I didn't see any ebay whores around, though.  Just kids.
The anthem was pretty good.  The guy drug out the notes a bit too long, but otherwise he did fine.  The only other thing from that part is that there were Boy Scouts doing the flags, and I don't think the flags on the sides were dipped low enough during the anthem.  They were a little, but the American flag is supposed to be the main thing amongst the flags.
Anyway, during the pregame, the announcer said that there was a "Storm watch until 9pm" or something like that.  Funny that the last big run ended right after 9pm, but I'll get to that later.  The announcer in Charlotte butchered Kamila's last name (who doesn't the first time?), but got it right for the rest of the game.  Not to mention that he had a problem either locating Betty's name or remembering it, because there was a loooong pause after "number 22."
To the game.  LJ scored our first two points.  Not long after, Betty  caught fire with a couple threes and a sweet wraparound layup.
It wasn't long until it was discovered that the refs were pretty crappy.  But to their credit (if you can call it that) they were bad on both sides.
Ladies and gentlemen, Dawn Staley can flop.  She did it beautifully on a Kamila drive to the basket and got the charge call.  Later, Kamila walked across the lane and that wasn't called.  Not long later in the first half, Sue and Mezzante were jumping for a loose ball, and they said that Sue knocked it out.  Bull.  Sue has no ups, remember (not knocking her, she said that herself).  Betty got run over and they called a block, but then they got it right, when Lewis (#20 Charlotte) ran through Sue and got called for a charge.  Wow.  They got something right!
At one point in the half, Tully said something to a ref, I don't think it was about the calls, but apparently she thought it was funny because she was laughing about it when she walked off.
Oh, by the way, Adia's brace is HUGE.  I just took people's word for it before, but there's nothing like seeing it in real life.  Wowie.  When does she get to shed that thing?
Late in the first, the Storm played some sloppy basketball.  They'd led up to about 5 minutes to go in the half, but lost it at that point, and were down 46-44 at the half.
Second half, LJ finally hit 11 points,  so that was a worry over with.  Kamila got called for a ghost foul, and at the next media timeout, Anne was blessing out the ref (their numbers were 42, 51, and 53).  It was fun to watch, that's for sure!
Not long later, Betty blocked a three and the foul was called.  The ball was a foot off the player's hands and the foul was still called.  Worst call of the night right there.
Then, all of a sudden, the Storm couldn't score with a pencil.  I don't know how long it was, but LJ hit a free throw and that was it for three or four minutes unless I missed something.  It was bad, and the Sting had their biggest lead at that point.
Adia broke the drought with a nice little baseling jumper.  It was very cool to see her get in the scoring there.  Later on, she stole the ball and was about to break out when she got fouled from behind.  It was at a break, so we just thought it was a normal foul.  But after the timeout, Adia goes to the line by herself.  I guess it was a flagrant or a technical or something.
At one point in the second half, the Sting had a two-on-one against Sue.  She played as good defense as she could, and the Sting missed the shot badly.  It was more the off shot than Sue, but she played it as well as she could've.
Then, suddenly, we're back in it, tied at 60 with 3:53 to go.  Sue's got either 11 or 14 by this time, and we're wondering when that happened.  At that point someone (and I think it was Sue) left Feaster wide open for a three.  Bottom.  Not long after, Betty fouled Lewis, who hit the shot and then the FT to put the Sting up 66-60.
I thought it was over at this point, but the Storm came flying back, led by an LJ three.  But on the last possession, Sue gave it to Betty (who'd just come in for Adia) and Betty never got the shot off.  Final score, Sting 70, Storm 67.
At the end, I saw Betty holding her nose.  I think she got hit again.  I listened to Anne being interviewed (I love press passes!), and she said that Betty was Ok.  Then she retracted that and said something about her still not being Ok, but that last hit didn't hurt her any worse.
As you all know, Feaster was the interviewed individual on KJR, and the Sting's crew interviewed Lewis.  Sorry about the lack of first names on Sting players--I just don't know that many of them.
As for the players, Sue impressed me a lot, but she could've played better.  There were times when it was obvious that she was going to shoot the ball and no one else was going to get it.  She played reasonable defense most of the time, but got burned at least three times, maybe four.  Mezzante, for one, ate Sue's lunch at least once, if not twice.  Sue could've played better than she did.
The Sting were running a lot of picks and stuff, which was part of the reason Sue was getting beat so much.  Their offense was clicking big time.
Betty played well, but after her first 8, she started getting rather erratic with the ball.  It was a bit frustrating.  I hope her nose is Ok.
LJ had her usual 25 points or so.  She had a good night.  Not much more could be done by her.
Adia played well, too.  She scored less than last year here in Charlotte, but she played darn good defense.
I didn't notice a lot from the bench, and that's probably what got us beat.  Although, I think Sue is a big factor in losing the game, too.
Other notes:
The fans were nice and loud.  There weren't many of them, but they were very loud.  The Sting have great fans.
They played musical chairs during one of the first half timeouts.  Some guy kept a little boy from getting a spot with three chairs left, and then shoved the B.B. Sting (the mascot) out of another.  Then, with one chair and that guy and a little girl left, B.B came up and tackled the guy right as the music ended.  Very funny.
The other events that I remember was the Kiss Cam, where the cameras were trained on a couple people and they had to kiss.  The funny part here was that the last shot was of the two male refs.  That was good.  They did a loudest section contest and threw stuff to the fans and did a rendition of YMCA as well.  The fans had a lot of fun at the game, and they liked the outcome, unfortunately.
Well. it's a bummer that the Storm lost, but hopefully they'll get the Shock in Detroit tomorrow night.  The Charlotte game was a really good one, and I'm glad I got to be there for it.