score: Storm 64 Lynx 54 (W) (2-0)
7261 (and that is not counting the invisible fans like all
the other teams have been doing)
Watch | Not bad, a little on the slow side.
Psyche | SUE! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
Highlight | The benchies coming through yet
| The Lynx were working it pretty good and
the doofus refs were right there to reward them every time.
Keyword of the Game | Sweep!
Photos | Game Photos (Scott
was a good news / bad news game.
good news is that the Storm took care of business and swept
the Lynx out of the first round, something that no other team
has been able to do to their opponents in the other playoff
series. Furthermore, the good news is also that the bench
yet again stepped up and produced on offense and defense.
The good news is that the Storm is looking more and more like
they did pre-Olympic break.
bad news, speaking of breaks... Ok, I'm being a lot more glib
about this than I should be since it is devastatingly serious
— Sue Bird left the game just 3 minutes in with a broken
nose. Yes, the epidemic of nose injuries has come back to
Seattle again. I didn't see it happen, nor did I tape the
game so I can't check it. A couple people said that it was
Teresa Edwards and that it looked accidental. All I know is
I saw Sue running off the court, crying, with blood running
down her face and yelling "She broke it," as she
passed by the bench.
effect on the rest of the team was understandable —
they were shocked and in disarray. The first half became a
study in watching a team try to regain their composure, overcome
the loss of a team leader and hold off a team who was trying
to avoid elimination. It took the Storm well into the second
half before they really got their steam back. All through
the first half and into the second, they allowed the Lynx
to hang around and kept trading the lead back and forth. Neither
team was able to get more than a three or four point lead.
was the most worrisome part of the game. The Lynx kept showing
signs that they might build enough momentum to push their
lead up to 6 or 8, or keep it even and steal the game with
a last minute push. The Storm did a much better job keeping
Ohlde and Williams at bay, but the two of them still were
able to break away for easy layups - much easier than the
shots LJ, Janell or Kamila were getting. And then Abrosimova
found her game and started torching the Storm from all over
Storm didn't fold under the pressure. Instead, they found
ways to match the Lynx's energy and slowly retake the momentum
in the second half. With inspired play from Chelle Thompson,
Janell Burse and Tully Bevilaqua off the bench and a renewed
intensity on the defensive end from all the players, the Storm
shut down the Lynx in the last minutes of the game and were
finally able to pull away.
Lynx started putting up wild shots. LJ and Janell started
swarming the Lynx posts any time they got the ball. Tully,
Betty, Sheri and Chelle pressured the Lynx guards and kept
them from getting the ball to Ohlde or Williams, or forced
turnovers. Most importantly, every time the Storm got a defensive
stop they ran down the court and got a basket, or a basket
and a foul. The Storm wore down the Lynx and then put them
of the Lynx hanging around looking to steal the game at the
last minute, it was really the Storm finding a way to keep
the game close after losing a star player and then pulling
away once they regained their composure.
also helped that Sue came out of the locker room towards the
end of the second half, sporting an ice pack and a nice blue/purple
swelling across the bridge of her nose. She looked just fine
at times — smiling and moving around fine — and
then looking woozy at other times — not moving so well
and looking like she had a headache that would wipe out a
bottle of Tylenol. Her nose didn't look near as bad as Semeka
Randall's did when she got hers broken. Sue's nose did have
swelling and discoloration, but there didn't seem to be any
obvious out of place parts.
to the game. The Storm are still missing opportunities to
get the ball to the post players, especially LJ, when they
are in good position or are facing single coverage. It seemed
like the pass into the post was coming well after the defense
was set and / or when the defensive help was alert and ready
to come with the double team. It seemed like LJ went several
minutes in the second half without getting the ball at all
on offense. It's not surprising to me that Ohlde only had
two fouls in the whole game. You can be sure that she committed
more fouls that the refs ignored since she has apparently
been deemed worthy of MVP-like consideration, but the Storm
let the refs off the hook by not going at Ohlde with every
opportunity. I think that if the Storm perimeter players could
get the ball into the post even a couple seconds earlier than
they are now, LJ, Kamila and Janell would have an easier time
finding their offense.
I'm being picky (the Storm are advancing to the second round
for the first time in their 5-year history, so they are obviously
doing things right, but indulge me), another thing that I
don't think is completely working is the Storm's penetration
and kick out scheme. The Storm have a couple plays that have
the perimeter players in constant motion, driving into towards
the paint but passing out to the perimeter before they run
into the defense. Yes, this does lead to open jump shots,
but it seems that the player who is driving into the paint
is often passing up on layup or jump shot opportunities and
looking for the pass instead. I know they are executing the
called play, but it seems, and I could be wrong, that if they
didn't have their mind made up to pass the ball before they
started their drive and instead read the defense a bit better,
they would see that they often have lanes available all the
way into the paint.
think these two areas — getting the ball into the post
earlier when the post player has single coverage or has strong
positioning and looking for the shot instead of the pass on
motion drives — could be key in helping the Storm not
only be more competitive but really put a lot of pressure
on their opponents. I know I'm an armchair coach, but I think
these observations have some merit.
next couple of games are really going to test what this team
is all about. Even if Sue comes back, she'll not be at 100%
since she'll more likely than not be wearing Greco's face
mask. If the Storm go up against Sacramento, not having Sue
at 100% is less of an issue since the Monarchs' guards are
not their strongest players. If the Storm play LA, it will
be more of an issue since the Sparks' guards are dangerous
and, I can guarantee it, will find a way to give Sue a love
tap or two on the mask just to let her know they can. I'll
be honest, playing and beating LA would be the sweetest, but
playing and beating Sacramento might have a higher probability
of success with a weakened Sue Bird.
the Storm reacts is the test. The reward is a trip to the
Finals. Honestly, I still like our chances.
person who did not look too happy during the second half was
Storm owner Howard Schultz. He was standing at the entrance
to the Storm tunnel during the end of the game and seemed
ready to start brewing a new Starbucks mix out of the shattered
remains of the referees. That man has a withering stare, one
that I'm sure has been honed through many years of big time
business meetings. He did crack a smile once the team won,
but it was a mean smile.
of the Sonics were at the game. A bunch of them were up in
a luxury suite while Ray Allen was sitting courtside.
was very happy to see the Key eventually fill up to a normal
sized crowd of 7000+. Unlike all the other playoff games so
far this season, our crowd was as reported and they were working
the signs and giving the refs as much lip as possible. I'm
proud to say we put the Lynx fans to shame.
about 5 minutes left in the game, Angie leaned over to me
and said, "I smell bacon."
did the Bungie Bowling thing again. This time, the "pins"
were wearing Lynx jerseys. Nice touch.
Storm handed out new rally cards with the "Bring It Home"
slogan on the front. The cool part was that since the card
was white, it provided a perfect opportunity for improvisational
sign making. There were at least two "Win it for Sue"
signs that appeared on the back of rally cards. We also saw
a whole line of "New Refs" signs across from the
Storm bench. Seattle fans once again taking the initiative.
Way to go.
glad that the fans didn't take the initiative on one thing
at the end of the game — starting a "Beat LA"
chant. I thought for sure that someone would get it going
and I hoped that it wouldn't happen. If Sac does win, you
know they'd hear about any premature "Beat LA" chants
and it would have just pissed them off as a sign of disrespect
(not that we really have much respect for them — DeMya!).
ESPN2 sideline reporter — I didn't recognize here —
was very nice as she made her way up and down the sideline
through the maze of chairs, security and training staff. She
also knelt down when she would make a report about the Storm
huddle. I don't know if she was trying to get low so she could
block out the crowd noise or if she was being courteous and
trying to not block the view of the fans behind her. Interesting.
is a little girl who sits a couple rows behind us that always
says "You can do it!" in the Rob Schneider cajun
voice, so it sounds more like "Yu kan du eeet!"
It cracks me up every time.
came out of the player tunnel at the end of halftime with
some food and couldn't figure out why people were looking
at me and waving. Kamila was right behind me on her way back
out onto the court. I was going "Whaaaat? What are you
got a discarded Sheri Sam headband! She took it off mid-game
and handed it to one of the training staff, who in turn handed
her a new one. They left it on the bench, so I snapped it
up after the game. Well, I touched it, went "EWWWW"
since it was cold and soggy with Sheri sweat, and then scooped
it up in a cup. Truly, one for the shrine.
the game, many of the Lynx players saw me sitting behind the
bench and gave me either an eye roll (as if they were thinking,
"Oh great, THAT guy") or a little head shake. It's
nice to know I made an impression.
tried to do the "Brick!" thing during Lynx free
throws, but there was too much noise for it to really be effective.
If all of us were do to it at once, now that would have an
impact. I think though that "Brick!" is going to
be a road game tool. If anyone comes with us for the next
rounds' road games, you will be required to take part in the
that I am sitting right behind the bench, I tried during the
game to get the scoop on Sue's prognosis. It wasn't clear
for awhile as there were conflicting reports. The verdict
came in when the head trainer came out to give a report to
Coach Boucek during a time out — broken. Jenny had the
best comment about Sue's break of the night. After the half,
she was overhead saying, "That looked messed up."
received the award for her second consecutive scoring title
before the game. $12,500 with a portion of it going to the
charity of her choice.
Brondello was in the stands tonight and got a warm welcome
once they put her up on the big screen.
is once again up from So.Cal to cheer on the Storm. She had
the best sign of the night — "Simone, Got Jersey?"
She held it over the edge of the tunnel as the team came out
for shoot around before the game. The team laughed while Simone
said, "That's not funny." Oh, but it was.