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May 29, 2005 vs. San Antonio Silver Stars

Final score: Storm 79 – Silver Stars 51 (W) (2-1)

Attendance | 6,910

Anthem Watch | A UW alum — solid, standard rendition without all the extra nonsense.

Fan Psyche | Alrighty then.

Game Highlight | Sue playing perfect fastbreak defense on Shannon Johnson.

Halftime | Don't remember.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | W00t!

Game Photos

Okay then. This felt a little more like the Storm team we all know and love. Before going all crazy with the superlatives, I think it is important to say that the Silver Stars are once more in the hurt box and a monster win against them should be taken in context — good, but not necessarily a sign that the Storm are back to their full speed or strength yet.

That said, there are plenty of great positives that came out of this game including extended court time for the bench, much of it against the Silver Star starters, and much stronger play from all our new players.

At the Open Practice and Q&A yesterday, someone asked the new players what strengths they bring to the Storm. I was disappointed to hear most of them mumble something about defense or not come up with an answer at all. What we should have heard was that Battle has been on championship teams and has been through high pressure situations before, or that Wright led her team for four years in this or that category. Instead we got Wright saying "Aggressive." I think in the first two games, what we saw from her, Battle or any of the other new players (except for Izzi that is) was anything but championship-tested toughness or aggressiveness. True, these women have only been together for a few short weeks, but the WNBA season isn't long enough for a 15-game getting-your-feet-wet-training-wheel transition period. If you've got skills, let's see them.

The benchies got plenty of time to do just that, and it was almost enough for me to excuse their nonanswers to that question. Almost (as in let's see that on the road and then I'll be satisfied...)

All the bench players scored, and with respect to Trina Frierson, they did it with about 9 minutes left in the game and without the offensive set aimed at getting one person or another a shot so she could get on the board. This is a telling point. All the players were feeling more comfortable on the floor and with each other and were able to find their shots within the normal offense.

Zara in particular had a few standout plays in which she either drove to the basket, broke down her defender for an open jumper, or directed the offense with confidence. The best instance of this came on a broken play when Wright made a bad pass that went out of bounds. Zara immediately, like the veteran she is, went to Wright and gave her the "keep your eyes on me" sign. That was excellent and got me more excited about Zara than anything else. Say what you will about Sheri Sam, but from my perspective one of her strongest attributes was her veteran leadership. If Zara and Izzi start exerting themselves as seasoned vets and can bring the rooks into line, that can only mean good things for this team.

Chelle seemed to break out of her funk and was playing with a lot more energy and determination than we saw in either of the two previous games. 5 rebounds in 8 minutes is some hustle. She also seemed to be feeling more comfortable overall — she was joking around on the bench, dancing to the timeout music, etc., everything we remember from the time she was one of our prime spark plugs off the bench.

Wright had a couple mistakes, but did show more "Aggressive" tonight. I don't think she is going to be the Sue Bird type of point guard, nor is she really going to be a point guard ever. I get the sense that she is modelling herself after Betty — not a bad thing in my opinion. She was throwing herself into the thick of things and got a couple rebounds and steals that were surprising because she came out of nowhere to get them.

The one spot we are still thin at, and yes that pun is intended, is at the 5 spot. Janell, Simone and Mandisa split the 5 and 4 rotation minutes tonight and while they did get a few blocks and each hit at least one basket, there were still a lot of minutes there without a lot of production. Janell did the best of the three and certainly had the most energy. Simone has a bit of an edge to her this season. I don't know if she's still worried about her roster spot or if she is trying to prove to someone (herself?) that she still "has it," but she showed a lot more energy tonight than she normally does. If she can keep that up and if she and her skinny compatriots step it up just a little more, we'll be in great shape.

Speaking of looking like she is in great shape, LJ went to town and had a great night — shooting 50% even though she missed 3 three-point shots. I get the feeling that she just needs to hit one of those in rhythm and that particular log jam will be opened. She and Chantelle Anderson got tangled up a couple times. Actually, Chantelle was getting tangled up with just about everyone. She got called for an offensive foul in the second half after wrestling with Janell. Once they got back down the court, there was a timeout (or something) and Chantelle got pulled from the game. On her way out, she made sure to walk past Janelle and said "She's such a f***ing flopper," to which Janell replied with a smile, "Nice."

Chantelle also threw an "nice" open field tackle on Betty as they were going for a loose ball right in front of the Storm bench. Both of them ended up banging into the chairs. I popped up and was pointing at Chantelle — from my viewpoint it was sooooo clearly a push/tackle that I felt the need to help Roy make the right call — and in my excitement found myself leaning over the bench seats a little too far. I backed off and did a covert check to see if anyone was coming to haul me away. Nope, so I went back to yelling at Roy.

Betty was Betty, of course.

Sue was probably the best bright spot of the game. She not only went at the Silver Star defense in transition, she also threw a blanket on Shannon Johnson. If the play in which Sue successfully defended that Johnson fastbreak doesn't make it into a year-end highlight reel, there is no justice in the world. It was a thing of pure beauty. Textbook defense. Shannon got the ball and took off down the court with only Sue ahead of her. Sue was backpedaling the whole way, which was impressive enough since Johnson was going full speed, and forced Shannon into a travel at about the three-point line totally denying her an opportunity to get a shot up. Wow, wow, wow.

The other key thing from this game that I thought was great to see was that the Storm had no problem with the Silver Stars' zone defense. San Antonio didn't waste any time and went into the zone from the tip. The Storm handled it by moving the ball, moving without the ball and attacking any open seam they found. Of course, hitting shots is the best zone breaker and the Storm did that too.

They also did a great job of shutting down the Silver Stars on defense. Marie Ferdinand is one of my favorite players and while it was great to see her back on the court, I was hoping to see a good show without it being "too" good a show. Well, she got virtually skunked — especially for such a prolific scorer. 6 points and 3 turnovers is about a bad a night as she could have had, without breaking another arm that is. It would have been nice to see her and Betty get into a shoot out, but I'll take the blowout instead. No Silver Star player scored in double figures. Wendy Palmer got 9, but most of that came at the end of the game during garbage time.

Overall, a solid game that gave our bench players a chance to show what they can do. Now, the road beckons.

Other Notes:

So I'm sitting there before the game and Karen Bryant comes over and asks me to get a picture of her Goddaughter who was one of the kid's captains and got to go out pregame to meet the team captains. I said sure, but she meant for me to go out there. I was like, um, are you sure? She said go, so I went and tried to be as inconspicous as possible. Angie assured me that I failed utterly.

LJ's mom sat next to Shed and SF7. I had them ask her if she ever grounded LJ for her on-court language. She said yes, and that she had a talk with LJ earlier in the day about that very subject. HA!

Roy and Darla were reffing, which meant that I was yelling a lot. After the game we went to Jaliscos. Zara and Simone were there and came by our groups' table to say hello. Zara pointed to me and said, "You were yelling at the refs. Good job." It's nice to be appreciated.

I think my ref appreciation has been rubbing off on the little girls who sit behind us. The older one got off a good one at Roy when she said, "I'm 12 years old and I know the rules better than you." I gave her a high five for that one.

On the Vodopyanova fashion watch — she didn't have one any noteworthy footwear, but she was sporting a sparkly belt. I took a picture of course.

Former Storm players Edna Campbell and Sandy Brondello both got big applause during the intros.

 

Submitted by | jilly1217

Highlights and lowlights tonite.

Lowlights first:

The refs. boy, when you are reffing with roy and you're the one being yelled at by the fans, it's a new low. darla, bad dye jobs and huge boobs are, like, SO 80's.

No dance troupe, just the storm gang unit, aka: the hip-hop squad. pptttttthhhhh.

Highlights!:

National anthem (mostly good with just a bit of american idol at the end).

0 turnovers!

All players scored.

Kids behind us with duck noisemakers who made the entire bench and staff crack up.

Zara showing her stuff.

LJ scoring over 20

Izzy proving once again that she's THE 5th starter

Seeing sandy brondello

Winning by almost 30 points!

The refs (just seeing if you're paying attention)

What a fun game. I was worried because sometimes when you play a bad team, you play badly. Not tonite!

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