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June 15, 2005 vs. Minnesota Lynx

Final score: Storm 81 – Lynx 86 OT (L) (6-3)

Attendance | 7789

Anthem Watch | A fellow season ticket holder. I'll give her a pass on the extra notes.

Fan Psyche | Disbelief.

Game Highlight | LJ with a monster block on Ohlde, Izzy lighting it up big time.

Halftime | Cheer squads.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | New Refs!

Game Photos

This one sucked on many levels.

First off, just to get it out of the way, the refs were horrible tonight. This was by far the worst officiated game we've seen this season. Unfortunately, I'm sure we'll be able to say that again and again and again - especially if Tweedledidiot Bonita Spence and Tweedleduma** Tony Dawkins ever get the nerve to reappear at KeyArena. Tony needs to go back to AAU or whatever bush league they found him. Bonita "Oops I missed it again" Spence should just quit. Leave the sport. Forever.

She blew a call late in the second half that gave the ball to the Lynx who scored a 3 point shot to take the lead and to kill the Storm's momentum. LJ and 2 Lynx players were going for a rebound under the Storm's basket and the ball went through LJ's hands and down a Lynx player's chest, arm and then off her thigh... and Bonehead called it off of LJ. Half the arena was instantly up and screaming because we all clearly saw it go off the Lynx player. After the Lynx scored the three and the Storm called a timeout, Bonita was standing in front of the scorer's table and one of the Storm coaches told her that she got that call wrong. Her answer? A little smile and "Yep, I missed it."

That's it. "Yep, I missed it." If there was ever a call that had a direct and concrete effect on the end of a game - this was it. The Storm had been up by two and instead of getting the ball back and potentially going up by four, we were down by one and into scramble mode, lucky to tie the game and force overtime.

"Yep, I just missed it." F*** you very much.

The other main complaint I have about the refs tonight is the glaring lack of consistency. The Lynx would mug a Storm player, and in Janell's case seriously injure her - no call. Next play on the Lynx side, a Lynx player goes to the basket - foul. Over and over and over again this happened. Nothing on our side, same circumstances on the other side and a foul. Just call it the same way on both sides, even if you suck like an 8 lb. Oreck, call it the same way.

I know the Betty haters out there - you know who you are - are going to be howling (and they already have been) that Betty single handedly lost the game in the overtime. Fine. Betty tried to play the hero and started forcing shots and losing the ball that led to Lynx baskets or Storm fouls and Lynx free throws. Even though she seemed to be in pain - she was grimacing often, looked like she had a bit of a limp - and seemed to have grease on her hands - she couldn't hold on to the ball even when the defense wasn't pressuring her, she still took it upon herself in the overtime to be the number one scoring option, regardless of what play Coach Donovan called. In this game, Betty blew it. Instead of getting the ball to our real number one scoring option - LJ - or even to the other player who was white hot all game - Izzy - Betty kept trying to hit the big shot that would drive the crowd crazy. Sure, she hit a couple, but the 2 or 3 turnovers along with the fouls negated the hero performance. So fine - go on about how horrible Betty is. All I can say is no Betty, no 2004 championship. I'll take the championship and the chance that she'll make dumb decisions every once in awhile.

Let's face it - the Storm seriously miss Sue Bird at the point. How many passes into the post were stolen or deflected tonight? How many times did the offense bog down with the point guard - Zara or Wright - dribbling out the clock on the perimeter? How many times did it seem like the offense was stuck in molasses, while the Lynx were seemingly able to get whatever shot they wanted on the perimeter or going to the basket?

Izzy and LJ were just about the only two offensive bright spots. Izzy turned it on and played an excellent all around game. She and LJ both carried the team on offense and defense. The only other player who was really having an impact was Janell and she was taken out by the Lynx. I didn't see the incident clearly, but it looked like she got slapped and poked in the eye. She must have gotten hit much harder than a slap because she had a big knot above her left eye and looked to me like she was literally dazed and confused. She covered her ears every time the crowd got loud, she didn't seem to be able to focus her eyes or open them very wide and looked like she was about to get sick. I haven't heard anything official, but she had the hallmarks of someone who had a concussion. Whatever it was, it kept her out of the game. With the Storm down 2 starters, the Lynx were barely able to scrape out a win in overtime.

Man was this a frustrating game. In the first half, every foul called on the Storm was on a Lynx drive that led to free throws. On the Storm end, the Lynx gummed things up with a zone and it took the Storm nearly the whole half to break it. Even though LJ scored 26, the perimeter players were still not getting her the ball in good position. They would wait and wait and wait until the defense was set before passing into the post. Why not get her the ball before the defense has 3 people in the paint just waiting for her to spin with the ball? Why not get it to her when she's only got one defender, even if there is still 20 seconds on the shot clock? Just because it goes all the way to 30 doesn't mean you have to use it all.

The Storm's spacing was also bad. When they get bunched up or when someone is out of place, it allows the defenders to essentially cover more than one player. That's how so many passes got picked off or deflected tonight - the Storm players were continually getting jammed together on offense and were making it easier for the Lynx to disrupt the passing lanes.

Did any good stuff happen? Of course it did. We overcame an 11 point Lynx lead with some tough defense and took control of the game in the second half. Each of the players had good plays, like Simone getting a block or diving on the floor for a loose ball, or Chelle hitting a big 3 that helped get the game in reach early on, or Zara with an offensive rebound and score. Let's face it, even with the lackluster play, crappy officiating and free throw happy Lynx, the Storm were one bad call away from winning - even without Sue and Janell.

It's hard to try and extract anything good out of this one because, as I said, it sucked, but for those who can be more optimistic than I can right now, there were things you could pin your hopes on. For me, I'm going to stew about this one for awhile. Hopefully Betty will stew on it too.

Other Notes:

It's always hard to come up with Other Notes after a loss.

The best side thing tonight was watching Mandisa and Ashley on the bench reacting to the game. Mandisa was really yelling, especially after Janell's and LJ's blocks. Early on in the game, she had yelled a couple things and looked around to see if anyone was paying attention. I help up my megaphone and offered it to her. She laughed it off and shook her head no. She and Ashley were having a lot of fun, that's for sure.

Sue has a healthy looking shiner under her right eye and the cast on her nose looks a little bigger than last year's version.