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9/8/04 vs Detroit Shock

Final score: Storm 86 – Shock 67 (W) (18-11)

Attendance | 6862 (you people missed a good one)

Anthem Watch | Angelic little kids.

Fan Psyche | New refs! New refs!

Game Highlight | Take your pick - Sue, LJ, Sheri, Betty, Tully, Janell, Kamila - all had big time plays, but I think the best one might have been Adia for 3 at the end of the first half.

Halftime | Honoring local women Olympians, hosted by Summer Sanders.

Flopometer | Betty got away with one.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Aussie!

Game Photos | Game Photos (Scott Larson)

Whew. That was a barn burner. Not only did the Storm get punished early on by the hyper energetic Shock and end up down by 14 (their biggest deficit at home this season?), but then the Storm turned the tables with monster defense and confident offense to blow the Shock out of the Key.

If we came away with anything from tonight's game, it was that the Storm have found their confidence once again. And not just the starters. I think that the way the team played in LA and Phoenix, even though they lost, may have reminded them that they aren't LJ and the Laurenettes. Those big wins we saw early in the season weren't all LJ, they were true team efforts as was tonight's game.

It didn't start out that way. Detroit was fast breaking on every missed Storm basket and converting regardless of the Storm transition defense. Before we knew what was happening, the Shock were up big and looking nigh unstoppable. Their energy was daunting. They were getting every rebound and streaking down the court (the box score only credits the Shock with 8 fast break points - they had that in the first 3 or 4 minutes, easy).

Coach Donovan called a timeout at 14:00 left in the half. The Shock were up by 13. She told them that the Shock had 10 of their 18 points from transition and told the team to run them down. She said, "If you can't run, get off the court." She also pointed at Sue, Sheri and Betty and told the three of them to stop walking the ball up the court and allowing the Shock to settle into their defense. She told them to run it up and that if the play was breaking down it was their responsibility to get it back into the offense. She said, "Right now is when we get this game back. Right now."

As David Locke pointed out after the game, the Storm proceeded to go on a 41-14 run to blow the game open.

They did it by closing out on the Shock's transition plays and denying the early easy lay-ups. Once the Storm got the Shock into a half-court offense, the Storm were able to force turnovers and bad shots (or at least not-as-good shots).

It was another one of those games when you would look up at the scoreboard and all the sudden we're up by 6, then 10, then pushing 20.

The best part of it was that it wasn't just Sue, Betty or LJ who were doing the scoring. Sheri woke up and started taking shots that she had been passing on the last few games. Janell fought for every rebound and started hitting the chippies she's been missing lately. Tully didn't score a lot, but she was in there disrupting things and pestering the Shock guards. Adia got her hair lightened or streaked blonde and it seemed to help (or something did) because she was also taking shots that the Shock were daring her to take. Yes, she missed the lay-ups, but she wasn't hesitating or looking to pass the ball. When she had an opening, she went. If she, Sheri and Janell keep up their aggressive play, sooner or later those shots will start falling and that will just make LJ and Sue's jobs that much easier.

Not that Sue needed too much help getting her offense in gear tonight. She was a scoring machine. She had 23 points with 8 assists. It wasn't like Nolan or Powell were giving her open looks, they were all over her. What she was doing that made the difference was that she was taking smart shots. I don't think you could say she forced a single shot, except for a couple drives in the first half where it was pretty obvious she was looking for a foul more than she was looking for a basket. Other than those two errors, Sue played an almost flawless game, and that helped her teammates find their shots and confidence again.

LJ was very quiet. She got her double figures to keep the streak alive, but it was a long time in the first half before she even touched the ball let alone take a shot. Riley and Ford were all over her and Kamila and both of them had a rough time. This game was extremely physical, which is what we all expect from Detroit. The good news is that while Detroit may have out-muscled LJ, they couldn't shut her down completely and she hit some of the key baskets in the first half that helped the Storm catch up and then fly past the Shock.

I'm not going to blather about the refs. They were horrible, again. I will say that Sue Blauch, #4, looked like she could be Coco or Kelly Miller's older sister. That's about the best thing I can come up with. They were bad going both directions, I'll give them that, and Laimbeer even tried appealing to Coach Donovan at one point to join him in an argument with the refs. She didn't bite.

So, Minnesota lost and Phoenix won (and yes, it is always good when LA loses, but we need Phoenix to lose more than LA right now). Our "magic" number now sits at 2...

Other notes:

Jezzie held court and gave audience to the Storm fan masses. She was sitting courtside with her broken ankle propped up in her scooter contraption and had quite an entourage surrounding her before the game. All must pay homage to the ankle.

At halftime, a group of local women Olympians were recognized for their achievements. Summer Sanders "hosted" and introduced each of the athletes.

In addition to the normal video and photography team, there was a guy with a digital video camera and a sound man working the sidelines. They had on "WNBA Entertainment" badges. I think they might have been shooting footage for something other than the normal game video. I didn't ask since they looked busy.

The video entertainment during the game had the Storm players answering who they thought would get voted off first and who would win if the team played Survivor. It was pretty unanimous that Adia would get voted off first because she "Likes the finer things too much" (LJ) and is "Too high maintenance" (Sue). They also all pretty much agreed that Tully would be the winner because she has that "Outback stuff" (Adia).