score: Storm 71 Liberty 43 (W) (1-0 preseason)
Watch | Solid, traditional with no extras
Psyche | Excited, relaxed, not reading too
much into this overly one-sided blowout
Highlight | Janell finishing on a fast break,
Wendy Palmer kicking some can under the basket, Barb Turner
playing against Ashley Battle
| Kids basketball skill drill
Keyword of the Game | Chippie
be a mistake to put much in the fact that the Storm blew out
the Liberty. It was a preseason game, after all, and perhaps
not a great test to see how the new Storm will look starting
May 21st. As someone commented after the game, it wasn't that
the Storm were that good so much as it was the Liberty were
that bad, or more probable that it was the Liberty coaching
staff not worrying about the win.
need to approach these kinds of games like the armchair coach/player
scout that we all like to be and really just focus on evaluating
the new players to the team.
Palmer — The only knock on her is her speed up and down
the court... as in there isn't a whole lot of it. She more
than makes up for that with her offensive abilities/scoring
and defensive presence. She's not going to be a huge shot
blocker, but she was actively altering shots and aggressively
rebounding. She's wide and strong and the puny point guards
who try to drive on her will get a rude welcome. Not that
there was any real doubt as to Wendy's spot on the Storm roster,
but she's a keeper and may finally be the answer to Coach
Donovan's post prayers.
Turner — She lived up to the training camp hype we've
been reading in the papers and blogs. She had a ton of energy,
didn't seem afraid to drive into traffic or scramble for rebounds,
kept her head up and was able to anticipate her teammates'
moves and shots. I think the Storm coaches did an excellent
job in drafting her — she's a nice complement to Izi's
fast and slashing style and will allow Coach D a different
look against the opponent's small forward.
Gortman — I'm not sure about Gortman. She didn't
seem very comfortable in the point guard position. On several
occasions, once she brought the ball up the court it seemed
she would slide into the 2 or 3 spot and end up in the post
rather than playing on the perimeter or directing the play.
This may be by design and Coach Donovan is playing both sides
of the fench with Gortman — point guard for the first
10 seconds of the play clock and small forward for the last
14 seconds. It may also be Gortman falling back to her natural
tendancy and position.
Taylor — She didn't do a whole lot in her limited minutes.
I would say that she looked the most uncomfortable of all
the new Storm players. Height or not, she got beat for rebounds
and had a hard time with loose balls. She only got 10 minutes
in the game, so it's hard to really comment on her game. At
this point, I would put her on the bubble ahead of the other
post players, including Simone. Once Tiffani Johnson starts
working with the team, I wouldn't be surprised to see Taylor
the returning players, they all looked good. Izi was the only
one who was a little out of sorts, which might be attributed
to her recent arrival in camp. Sue looked to be in great shape
and was very relaxed on the court. Lauren looked like she
was playing at about 75% of normal speed — maybe because
of her shins or maybe because she didn't really need to push
things in this game. Betty, on the other hand, was pushing
things and playing very aggressively on both offense and defense.
Her shot was a little off, but she wasn't letting that bother
her. Tanisha looked comfortable as well, although her shooting
wasn't that hot either. She did a much better job on defense
and was very active against the Liberty guards. Janell had
a solid game and was easily on her way to a double double
if she had gotten her normal minutes.
who is supposedly on the bubble, had some problems with chip
shots and unfortunately came out of the game in the second
half with what looked like a hamstring pull or cramp. She
was in obvious pain, but got some stretching and heating pad
treatment that got her back in the game in the 4th quarter.
It would be wrong for her to go down with an injury and perhaps
not make the team since it's apparent that she's working hard
and wants to be here. But, with Tiffani Johnson looming and
if Simone is injured, this may have been the last Shimmy Shake
we'll see in Seattle. I'm not counting her out until I see
the transaction report that she's been cut, but it's looking
more and more like the odds are against her this time.
too bad that this is the only home preseason game we've got.
It'd be nice to see the Storm against a better opponent to
get a clearer view of what kind of team this group is going
to be. The Minnesota preseason road game might be that test,
but we won't be seeing it.
last thought — in 2004 when the Storm won the title,
I think it was clear that Coach Donovan put together a team
designed to beat the Sparks (even if we didn't play them in
the playoffs). This time around, the Monarchs are the team
to beat and I think the team is almost there. I hate to say
it, but add Tully Bevilaqua to this team and we're back in
the WNBA Finals for sure. As it is, I put us in the Western
Conference Finals against the Monarchs and I don't know what
might happen. There's a lot of time between now and then,
but I'm feeling good about our chances. To be honest, I'm
feeling a lot better this year than I was at the same time
last year. Last season, I was unsettled by the loss of Tully,
Sheri and Kamila and wasn't confident about the season at
all. This season, I like the additions Coach Donovan has made
and am feeling pretty good about where the team is headed.
We're a back-up point guard away from where we need to be.
new seats will take some getting used to. I could use another
preseason game to get my timing and settings figured out on
my camera. The vantage point (111, 11, 1) gives a decent view,
but it will take a little time to get things dialed in.
crowd size was impressive for a preseason game, even if a
lot of it was free tickets given to STH to give out to friends.
Hopefully, the easy win and relaxed team will translate into
return fans. It would be nice to get the average attendance
up to that mythic 10,000 this season.
the Matt Pittman "NBA miscall" count: 1. He slipped
in a "Lakers" when announcing the May 21st game
against the Sparks. Overall, he did a fair job. He was a little
too monotone with the Liberty intro, but did a nice job with
the Storm intro. Still, when Steven Kilbreathe does that July
game, we need to let him know how much we've appreciated his
work as the Storm announcer.