score: Storm 59 Fever 54 (W) (14-7)
Watch | Decent, but he's learning some bad
American Idol habits.
Psyche | Where's Spongebob?
Highlight | John Curley getting mobbed by
| Mascot musical chairs
| Minimal readings on the flopometer.
Keyword of the Game | There wasn't so much
a single word as there was a high pitched "EEEEEEEE"
Photos | Game Photos (Scott
think it may be fair to say that this game belonged to the
game was so tight, the two teams were so evenly matched —
at least in the way they were playing, I think the Storm have
a better team of course — that this may be one of those
games in which the home court actually produced an advantage
in the form of two missed free throws by Stephanie White.
the Storm up by one with fifteen seconds left on the clock,
Betty fouled White as White drove to the basket. It was an
extremely dangerous foul, although you might argue that it
was necessary. Since we only had a one point lead and no timeouts
left, if any of the Fever had an open jumper or an open lane
to the basket the options were to allow the shot and perhaps
be down by one with hardly any time left, or have someone
foul that shooter in order to force free throws. Betty gambled
and fouled what looked like an open layup.
scary part was that White almost got the basket anyway.
White steps up to the line. She is .733 at the stripe —
not automatic, but good enough to make the Storm pay.
the thousands of Camp Kids.
wave of sound that reverberated off the ceiling and broke
across the court was surprising in its volume and pitch —
I'm sure dogs in the Belltown and Lower Queen Anne neighborhoods
around the Key all ran and hid under their respective beds
for fear that the end had come. And when the ball bounced
off the rim on White's first free throw attempt, it got even
3000 brightly dressed Mako sharks getting a whiff of blood
in the water, the Camp Kids attacked again with even more
force and went in for the kill as soon as White got into her
shooting stance for the second attempt.
number 2. LJ gets the rebound and the game is essentially
over as the Storm shoot and make 4 more free throws to ice
and then close out the last few seconds.
game was won by a bunch of kids in matching shirts who probably
couldn't name any of the Storm players by name. I say, so
what — we'll take it and thanks for the assist.
time I start to try and write about how the game went, all
I can come up with is that it was dead even from the get go.
Neither team was able to dominate the other. Neither team
was able to capitalize consistently on the other team's mistakes.
Neither teams' superstars were able to get and keep their
own flow on track. Yes, LJ had 25, but she had 0 baskets in
the 2nd half and only 4 points off of free throws. She was
the only Storm scoring at the end of the first half, but the
Fever adjusted to her and through intense triple teams were
able to shut her down. Catchings got a double double, but
only because she got hot in the second half for a couple minutes
and got 3 baskets in a row.
was a hard fought defensive game that could have gone either
way and the only reason the Storm won by five instead of losing
by five was because they were at home. Their last few games
going back to that 0-3 road trip have all been single point
games (not counting the big win against San Antonio). It makes
a body nervous that even home games are this close game after
game after game.
is the big word these days, but I think what we are seeing
is more than just parity. When the Storm started the season,
even though half the roster was new they gelled faster than
just about every other team and were able to get off the blocks
a lot faster. Now, we're seeing all the other teams getting
to the same place we were a few weeks ago. All of them are
gelling, and some are getting down right scary (Minnesota
and Houston — I'm so glad we've got them for our next
three games — not). We're seeing parity with an added
dash of players finally getting comfortable with their teammates
and coaches. Of course, all of that is about to get whacked
by the Olympic break. My hope is that the Storm can duplicate
their quick start from the beginning of the season once they
reunite after the Olympics and put the hurt on some people
before they all get back into their grooves. If the Storm
can pull that off, we will be in excellent shape for the post-season.
few actual tidbits about the game:
Storm played a committee-based defense against Tamika Catchings.
She had a different player on her just about every time she
touched the ball, including LJ, Adia, Sheri, Tully, Sue and
Betty. Maybe that constant change was one of the reasons the
Storm were able to shut Catch down for most of the game. It
was fun to see the MVP candidates playing one-on-one. I'll
admit, Catchings is one of my favorite players and it is always
a little surprising to see how big she is in person. On TV,
she always seems to shrink down to guard size to me.
I pointed out above, the Fever played their own committable
defense on LJ. During the second half, the perimeter players
might fake a pass to LJ and she'd be wearing three Fever players
instantly. It was like they had unconscious "LJ's about
to get the ball" detectors and would be automatically
drawn to her magnetically. It worked.
Donovan was going out of her mind every time Kelly Miller
(or was it Coco, or Coelly, or Kello — I can never remember)
would pop open for an uncontested jump shot or three. Kelco
actually is the one who kept the Fever in the game much of
the way in the first half. I don't know if the Storm just
didn't consider her a threat at the start of the game. They
certainly did later after some of Coach D's gentle reminders.
took a pop to the nose right at the end of the game, but because
the Storm didn't have any timeouts left they were unable to
sub her out. As soon as the game ended and the team broke
their celebratory huddle at mid court, Betty trucked off to
the locker room and looked like she was in a lot of pain.
I'll give her a ton of credit though — she still gave
a couple fans high fives on her way past.
Burse is on the IR with a reported bad back. She definitely
looked like she was in some pain and was very stiff when walking
around. Catrina Frierson was suited up, but didn't get any
rest of the bench that did play — Adia, Tully and Simone
— did not produce much, although they also didn't get
a lot of playing time. 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and
zero points on 0-6 shooting in 30 combined minutes. I wish
I knew something to say to them to get them all back on track
because we are going to need them playing at the top of their
game going into the playoff stretch. LJ getting totally shut
down for a full half of play puts a lot of pressure on them.
Scoring from the bench is one sure-fire tool to force the
opponents to abandon triple teaming LJ. The Fever were able
to do it for so much of the game today because they weren't
worried about the other Storm players as much as they should
refs were Evil™, but not as bad as in the past couple
of games. Yes, bad calls happened, but they went both ways.
If anything, these refs seemed physically unable to recognize
a travel violation. In terms of the level of ref-inspired
bloodlust I felt after the end of this game, I only wanted
to stamp on some bugs or perhaps taunt a ferret. After the
Washington game I was ready to take down an African Elephant
with my bare hands and teeth and then fight off the lions
and hyenas for the bloody carcass. Sorry, I just watched some
next 3 games are the real deal. We will be playing two of
the hottest teams in the league right now and if the Storm
can win these games against Houston and Minnesota, they will
take 3 giant steps forward in dictating their own playoff
if we can just find a way to fly 3000 elementary school kids
to Houston and Minnesota...
was Doppler's birthday, so a few of his mascot buddies were
at the Key to help us celebrate. There was some gratifying
mascot violence (my #3 all time favorite thing) as the Shock's
Zap and the SASS Fox took to pummeling the Sting's mascot
— I missed his name — after the Bee tried
to get back into the halftime mascot musical chairs game.
Also, there was some gratifying TV host violence as the mascots
later teamed up against John Curley from KING5 and pummeled
him thoroughly and then caked him with silly string.
Dunn and Kate Starbird both got big cheers during the Fever
introductions. Kate did not play unfortunately.
on the Storm staff had the excellent sense to not have Doppler
and his felt buddies try and do the Choo-choo thing during
a timeout. There were so many kids in the Key that if they
had tried it, it would have been a complete disaster. Good
tried a pre-game shot for a Storm Team Shop gift certificate
and missed horribly.
Team Shop item of the game was a $10 backpack — unsurprisingly,
they sold out fast.
may inadvertently end up in a promo for KING5's Evening Magazine.
John Curley, still caked with silly string, did a quick promo
with a KING5 camera man behind the Storm bench and the camera
was aimed right at me much of the time. I had the urge to
do the dumb fan behind the commentator thing, but I'm the
quiet unassuming type so I refrained.
coaching staff has to be the best dressed in the league.
ball made its first appearance this season. I'd almost forgotten
about bungie ball — the best timeout activity ever
devised. They could do that for every timeout and I would
be a happy fan.