score: Storm 87 LIberty 78 (W) (11-10)
Watch | A young girl who started out with
the same old American Idolesque style, but settled down into
a decent rendition.
Psyche | Oh crap! LJ is down!
Highlight | Suzy leading a fastbreak and dishing
to LJ. That 6 or 7 minute run in the first half when the Storm
went crazy with the defense and fastbreaks.
| A marching band.
Keyword of the Game | Ankle Sprain.
like having your team leader, All-Star and MVP-candidate go
down with a sprained ankle to take the wind out of a huge
only did the crowd go quiet like someone pulled the amp fuses,
but so did the Storm's energy and composure for about 5 minutes
— just long enough for the Liberty to go on a tear and
chop a 20 point lead down to 7 and put some fear into all
of us. The Storm regained enough control of the game to keep
the lead with a couple key baskets in the last couple minutes
and then gut-check free throws as the Liberty started fouling.
have to give the Liberty some credit for not throwing in the
towel after Izzy hit that three with about 7 minutes left,
after LJ went out, to push the lead back out to 20. They came
at the Storm with a sudden burst of intensity and took advantage
of the Storm's shocked state after watching LJ being carried
out. The Liberty could have written the game off and let it
slide. They ran out of time and were held off once the Storm
shook off their confusion and started playing again.
counting the nightmare-scenario of seeing LJ grimacing in
pain, this was a great game. The Storm took complete control
in the first half with stifling defense and aggressive, attacking
offense that had the Liberty on their heels and unsure about
themselves. For one of the first times this season, the Storm
were actively forcing turnovers and stealing pass after pass
— and then turning those opportunities into points.
For all the fatigue talk we keep hearing, the Storm ran the
Liberty out of KeyArena. Even better was that the Storm were
able to maintain that 20 point lead into the second half.
It's pure speculation at this point, but I'm confident that
that lead would have held through the end of the game had
LJ not gone down. The Storm were simply not giving the Liberty
any openings to put together a run.
performance was as close to the level of play we saw last
season when the Storm were rolling and beating everyone.
early good news is that LJ should be okay. In fact, one of
the training staff came out of the locker room after LJ had
been back there for awhile and said that LJ wanted to come
back out and play. The coaches of course said no. She's got
a brief break until Saturday against the Shock — a
game I think we'll definitely need LJ — and then
a 6-day break between that game and the next one. Depending
on how things go on Saturday, I'd hope that LJ would be back
in gear by the Charlotte game and back to normal for the LA
game after that.
got to see impressive play from several Storm players tonight.
exploded for 20 points, a career high, and looked like she
could keep draining threes all night. Her shot is a little
goofy looking and she releases it so quick that it never seems
like she's fully set, but they were going in tonight. One
of the other things she does that I like a lot is her passing
into the post. She's one of the few players I've ever seen
on the Storm that doesn't wait around for the post defenders
to get set — she gets the ball into our post's
hands quickly and usually in good position. It does no good
to telegraph a pass inside, which is what most guards do,
or hesitate long enough that you end up allowing the defense
to anticipate the pass and the post move. Izzy doesn't hesitate
— on her shot or her passes.
was working hard on offense and defense, scoring a double
double and getting two blocks. She showed a lot more intensity
and determination than we've seen in the last few games. There
were a couple rebound scrums where she refused to give up
on the play and was able to either muscle the ball back out
to the perimeter or muscle it up for a lay-up. She also put
a sweet spin-to-the-baseline move on Baranova with a speed
you don't usually see from her. She wasn't getting pushed
around by the Russian or the Belgian (waffle).
had a short stint out on the floor, but she continues to improve
and show a lot of confidence. It's interesting watching her
and Sue together — it's obvious that they developed
a good rapport in the offseason playing in Russia and we're
enjoying the payoff. Vodo was the recipient of a fastbreak
pass from Zara which V turned into a layup that had the Key
rocking. She didn't have as much production tonight as she
did against LA the other night, but if she can continue to
provide solid minutes she might be one of the factors that
helps the Storm get over the .500 hump for good. Watching
her play with so much energy got me wondering if Coach Donovan
didn't hold her back a bit in the first half of the season
in order to have a fresh secret weapon down the playoff race
stretch run. She kind of did this same thing last year with
Chelle Thompson, and now we're seeing it with Natalia.
wasn't all good — even with the 20 point lead.
The Storm were still getting stuck on defensive switches and
only avoided getting burned more than they did because the
Liberty didn't recognize some of the glaring mismatches. When
you end up with Sue guarding Baranova, there was a missed
defensive assignment someplace. Had Becky Hammon been on the
court more during the first half, I'm sure some of those Storm
errors would have been more costly. As it was, Becky had early
foul trouble so we didn't have her court vision picking the
Storm defense apart and were able to survive the lapses.
other troubling stat was that the Liberty ended up outrebounding
the Storm. There were more instances this game of the Storm
fighting for rebounds with the same intensity as their opponent,
but we still saw rebound after rebound get tapped around until
it ended up being controlled by the Liberty or the ball slipping
through Storm players' hands. Grab it with two hands. Oh,
and please box out a little more forcefully...
said, the Storm are visibly improving game after game. Yes,
they allowed a lot of points tonight, but I think if the game
hadn't been disrupted by LJ's injury, the Liberty would have
ended up with something like 63 or so instead of 78. The Storm
have put together a nice, and quite timely, 3 game win streak.
Depending on how they respond to LJ's injury and how serious
the injury really is, they are finally positioning themselves
strongly for the push to the playoffs. It only gets harder
from here. Detroit may be struggling a bit, but they play
us tough. Saturday will be a big test, but I think the Storm
are finally prepared to face these kinds of tests and beat
stayed home sick — one of the very few home games
she's ever missed.
refs didn't completely suck.
parents were at the game. During the second half, they were
shown on the big screen with a title under the picture with
their names. The funny thing was that the video was shot from
a low angle, so the young couple sitting in front of the Jacksons
were front and center in the picture. It looked like someone
was playing a joke or something and trying to say that these
two were LJ's mom and dad. They eventually got the video up
so that we could see the real Jacksons.
shoes have small Russian flags on them and "Elena"
embroidered down the back. I think they were the same kind
of one-off Nikes that Sue and LJ have.
crowd was slow to get into the arena. Leighway suggested that
because the Indigo Girls were playing down at the Lake Union
Summer Concert series, we'd probably have a lot of no shows.
I asked her what kind of stereotype was she alluding to. I
also said that if people were real Storm fans, they'd be here
tonight and go see the Indigo Girls second show tomorrow.
Get your priorities straight (no pun intended), people.