Stormfans.org Home
Stormfans.org Home Gameday
Gameday
Forum
Chat
Gallery
Links
About Us
©2010 Stormfans.org

 

June 4, 2005 vs. Indiana Fever

Final score: Storm 83 – Fever 77 (W) (4-1)

Attendance | 8651

Anthem Watch | Kids' chorus, really trying to hit that high note.

Fan Psyche | Tully! Tully! uh... Betty! Betty!

Game Highlight | Betty coming back after that super painful looking back injury.

Halftime | Boys scrimmage.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Double-double.

Game Photos

I 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.

There 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.

The 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 having fun.

Once 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.

The 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.

The 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 shot.

Tanisha 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.

While 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.

Janell 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.

LJ 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.

Sue 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.

Betty. 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.

Betty's 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 fine.

For 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 by surprise.

Other Notes:

It 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 the Fever.

It 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.

I 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.

Another 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 carefully.

The 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.

The 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.