score: Storm 83 Fever 77 (W) (4-1)
Watch | Kids' chorus, really trying to hit
that high note.
Psyche | Tully! Tully! uh... Betty! Betty!
Highlight | Betty coming back after that super
painful looking back injury.
| Boys scrimmage.
Keyword of the Game | Double-double.
don't remember Indiana being this physical. This was a hard
fought game that left the Storm bruised (Betty's back), bloodied
(LJ's knee) and battered (pretty much every player). The Storm
survived the rough play and the Fever's non-stop three point
shots to gut out a hard win.
were two pregame activities that to me said that the Storm
were going to play well. The first was having Tully back and
presenting her ring to her. How did that help the Storm? It
got the crowd going nuts even before the introductions. The
crowd was into this game more than any so far this season
in my opinion and that helped buoy the Storm through the Fever's
late game push. Tully's appearance got us all pumped up and
I think that energy helped push the Storm.
second pregame "activity" that to me showed the
team was loose and ready to play a team that is hot was when
the team was in the tunnel waiting to come out during the
shoot around. Mandisa Stevenson started dancing not knowing
that she was on the big screen. The team "eventually"
pointed that out to her and she did an "Omigod!"
and ran back into the locker room. The team was laughing and
giving her a bad time. The crowd was laughing and cheering.
It was a great candid moment that had everyone relaxed and
the game got going, the Storm jumped out to a big lead and
held it for most of the game, only allowing the Fever to claw
back into it late in the second half.
two major negatives were turnovers and limited production
from the bench (still). In terms of turnovers, it seemed everyone
got the butter fingers at one time or another. This was compounded
by the Fever's fast hands and off to the races they went.
The Fever were able to capitalize on Storm turnovers much
like the Sparks did in the first game and use the fastbreak
to get themselves back into the game. Unlike the Sparks game
though, the Storm (mostly) kept their composure, executed
on the offensive end and were able to keep the Fever at bay.
bench players had some bright spots and I do think they are
playing with a lot more energy as the season progresses. I
think that given more playing time, they'd have more of a
presence on the stat line. Chelle Thompson played some inspired
defense on Tamika Catchings. On one possession in particular,
Chelle denied Tamika and lane to the basket and forced Catch
to take a long range jumper. Of course, Tamika hit that jumper,
but she wasn't able to drive to the basket and get an easier
Wright did okay, but I think I'm beginning to see what is
going on with her style of play. She comes from a college
situation where she was the go-to player and was one of the
prime offensive producers for her team. It was her job to
score the points. That isn't her primary job any longer and
I don't think she has adjusted yet. With LJ and JB in the
middle, Wright's first option is to get the ball in to the
post. Instead, she dribbles around the perimeter and tries
to break down the defense in a drive to the basket. Without
passing the ball, the defense has been closing her off and
forcing her into turnovers or jump shots. She is much more
of a mini-Betty than a mini-Sue. That's not necessarily a
bad thing, but the Storm offense isn't necessarily built around
the point guard holding the ball and looking to be the scorer.
we can talk about the bench, the real story continues to be
the stellar play from our starters (minus Izzi who went 1
for 10, although she was strong on defense again). The Storm
are going to be very hard to beat if we consistently have
4 players in double figures and two players hitting a double
double - LJ and JB tonight.
would have had an even better scoring night if she had hit
a couple more of the chip shots that banged off the rim. She
was relentless on the boards and would not give up on her
own shot. Her teammates' confidence in her is more obvious
as they are getting her the ball and letting her make her
move more often each game. She looks comfortable on the court,
although she is still nursing her hip with a heating pad anytime
she is on the bench.
was an absolute beast tonight and finally seemed to get her
long range jumper dialed in. She pummeled the Fever posts
on the boards and then punished them on offense by taking
it straight at them. She had Catchings on her much of the
night. While Tamika is usually a good defender, LJ took advantage
of the size difference and unloaded on Catchings. LJ also
had 5 blocks on defense.
had another solid all-around game including more fantastic
defensive moves to stop fast breaks and disrupt the Fever
guards. It would have been fun to watch her go up against
Tully, but instead she matched up against whichever Miller
twin plays for Indy. It's a good thing that Sue is so unflappable
because the Miller twin would seem to be a very frustrating
player to play against. She is very quick, constantly slapping
and poking at the ball, and seemingly immune from the no-touch
call. Sue was her level-headed self and found all sorts of
ways to get the better of the match up.
Talk about a gutsy performance. All you Betty grumblers out
there can just take a back seat, because she showed us tonight
what it is going to take to get back to the Finals - pure
guts and toughness. One of the Fever players ran up behind
Betty to defend her and kneed Betty in the lower back. Betty
crumpled to the floor and had to be carried off the court.
She came back in the second half, assured Coach Donovan that
she was good to go, so in she went. It was obvious that she
was in pain (the report I heard was that she has a deep bruise
— painful, yes — but not too serious), but she
played through that pain and still got some key rebounds,
hit a couple huge late game baskets and helped the Storm to
withstand the Fever's push at the end of the game. I'm sure
she'll be stiff and sore, but she is not going to back down.
determination, the hunger and desire we are seeing from JB,
the intensity we are seeing from LJ are exactly what we need
from our team leaders if the Storm expect to truly defend
their 2004 title. That LA game was only two weeks ago and
it feels like it was a season ago after watching how this
team is playing now. The road beckons and the Storm will be
facing some of the hottest teams in the league very soon,
but if they can keep playing like they are now... and get
a little more from the bench... they are going to be just
the Fever, I think they only have good things ahead of them
too. They would not stop and would not give up. No lead felt
safe and they kept pushing the Storm on every possession.
They are tough — much tougher than I remember —
and have some amazing jump shooters. Tan White had a great
game, as did Catchings. Their posts didn't do much of anything,
but then they had their hands full with LJ and JB. I can see
the Fever in the playoffs and maybe taking a couple teams
was great to see Tully and she very graciously made the rounds
in the stands giving her fans a chance to say hello, get an
autograph or a picture. As I wrote above, she got a huge ovation
when she received her ring. I hope the Fever fans realize
what a special player she is — I think her teammates
were a little surprised at the reception she received. It's
too bad she was injured and we didn't get to see her leading
was also great to finally see Suzy Batkovic in Seattle, up
close and personal. There were many people who refused to
believe that she was actually on the team until they saw her
sitting on the bench. Well, she's here now. First impressions:
She is as tall as Lauren, but looks much slimmer than she
did in the Olympics. That could be notched up to the Opals'
unitards. I don't imagine those would be very complimentary
to a woman with Suzy's frame. She looked at ease and enjoyed
the game. She has very striking eyes. I hope the photos I
took relate that accurately.
shot 600 photos with my new camera. 600. That is a new personal
best and likely to not be repeated. I'll endeavor to have
the selects posted by tomorrow. In case you're wondering,
I got a Canon EOS 20D with a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 zoom lens.
I'm thinking that I may look for another lens — something
in the 28-100 zoom range to give me some flexibility since
I can no longer get good shots of the bench with the 70-200
since I am so close. I had to step back a few feet to get
any huddle shots and I was still only able to get one or two
people in the frame. Still, it was worth the dough and I am
soooo happy to be able to put the old camera to rest. As I
get used to the camera, we'll be assured of Scott Larson quality
(the fan standard) images on both ends of the court very soon.
Tully note — StormFan7 had/found/got an extra replica
championship ring. She gave it to Tully who immediately put
it on. I couldn't tell if she still had it on during the actual
ring ceremony — we'll have to examine those photos very
Sonics dance team (I forget their name) performed during a
couple timeouts. At first, I thought they were the same guys
from our new Hip Hop group. Um, no. These guys were pretty
amazing and had some incredible break dancing moves. A couple
of them were doing some gravity defying, neck muscle ripping,
head spin jump flop moves that drew appreciative oooohs and
ahhhhs from the crowd.
crowd initiated their own chants several times tonight —
preempting the scoreboard on a couple occasions. The scoreboard
operator started a sequence, but stopped it because the crowd
has beat him to the punch, or cheer. I've been to all of the
west coast arenas except Houston and San Antonio and to the
Mohegan Sun, and none of the crowds at any of those arenas
do what we do on a consistent basis. The only crowd that comes
close is in Sacramento, but even they rely on the scoreboard
prompts 99% of the time. We are the home court advantage.