score: Storm 90 Sparks 76 (W) (1-0)
9686 — rock on!
Watch | A strong performance from a young
girl who was the runner up in a national (?) competition for
singing the anthem.
Psyche | This is how you start a season!
Highlight | Wendy hitting a three to really
get the crowd going in the 3rd quarter during a Storm 15-4
run. The Diva fouling out.
| Bounce - a duo combining gymnastics and
Keyword of the Game | Hell Yeah!
Photos | Scott
E | Stalker
23 | Rick
It's hard to not put too much on this game. The LA fans out
there, all 3 of them, will yammer on about the fact that Diva
Jr. missed the game and the Sparks were short handed. Even if
she had been here, they were short handed. The Sparks remind
me a lot of where Seattle was last year — unsettled, unsure
the beginning of last season, none of us in Storm Fan Land
felt very good about the coming season. The losses of Tully,
Kamila and Sheri were a shock to the system and you could
see it in how the players worked (or didn't work) on the court
and in how they related to each other. You knew that even
if we had a decent year, which we did, there was too much
doubt about making it very far in the playoffs let alone repeating
as champions. I had that feeling from day one last season.
season couldn't be more different and tonight's game is the
exclamation point on that statement. At every preseason event
(on a side note, thank you thank you thank you to the Storm
front office for putting on some of the best preseason events
we've had in years), you could see how well this team is getting
along and how confident they are in each other. Coach Donovan
has said several times that this may be the best roster she's
ever had — the deepest, the most cohesive and the most
watching Seattle and Los Angeles go head-to-head tonight,
I think it is clear that Seattle is rising and LA is fading
back. I've felt for the last couple seasons that the Monarchs
have been Seattle's real "rival" and not the Sparks.
Yes, it's fun to boo the Diva, but LA has been on the downward
spiral for awhile and this season they are accelerating. The
only reason they have a chance at the playoffs is because
they have the Diva. Say what you will (and say it often),
but she doesn't have any quit in her.
to tonight's game. There isn't really too much that could
have happened to make this a better way to start the season.
The Storm played well, blew out the Sparks by 23, the Diva
fouled out and Wendy Palmer showed everyone that she is here
to play. The only real dark cloud was the hit Izi took that
put her on the floor in the 4th quarter. It looked like she
was knocked out because she wasn't moving at all. She walked
off a bit wobbly and I'm sure that she'll be out with a concussion
of some severity, but she was okay enough to smile for the
big screen on her way out.
LJ, Sue, Wendy and Izi all had great games. LJ started slowly
but really came on in the second half during the Storm's 3rd
quarter push. She really had her way with the Sparks' posts
— it didn't really matter who was guarding her. She was
scoring inside and outside.
got a franchise record 7 steals along with 13 points and 9
assists. Yeah, almost a triple double. Her shot was there
any time she wanted to take it — and it seemed like
she timed when to take her shots perfectly. When the Sparks
would start to pull back into the game, Sue would hit a running
jumper. Any time the Sparks hit a couple of shots in a row,
Sue would come in a hit a three. She was very smart about
when to score.
straight up blew the shoes off the Sparks' posts. She was
a monster on the boards and hit some huge shots in the second
half. I wouldn't want to be the person trying to fight her
for a rebound. She was hyper aggressive in grabbing and protecting
the ball when she rebounded. There was no question she was
getting it and you could see as the game progressed that the
lesser-experienced Sparks' players almost backed off and let
her get the ball. Intimidation, pure and simple.
too had a strong offensive game, until she got popped on the
noggin. The outside shots from her teammates and the team's
rebounding lead to Izi slashing to the basket for shot after
shot. She had a couple turnovers early when she drove to the
basket and tried to dish it off to Johnson or Palmer instead
of taking it up, but she worked that out and was more smart
with her passes later.
Betty had an off night, perhaps due to lingering effects from
the accident she and her agent were in a couple nights ago.
She was really forcing her shots and driving into solid defenses
early in the game. She settled down and took better shots later
on, allowing her offense to fit better with the flow of the
game instead of imposing her offense on the game.
bench players were a little shaky, with the exception of Tanisha
who put together one of her better games as a member of the
Storm. She was very active on defense and had a couple steals
that she didn't get credit for in the box score. She also
helped contribute to a couple Sparks' shot clock violations.
Tanisha really attacked the Sparks back-up guards and forced
them into bad passes or bad decisions.
Gortman looked pretty good, although it seemed that she might
need more work on when to take on the point guard position.
I thought that it looked like she was sliding into the 2 or
3 spot more than what she was supposed to. Although to be
fair, Coach was playing 3 guards at times with Gortman, Sue
and Betty out there are the same time.
Johnson, Barb Turner and Kaayla Chones didn't get much playing
time, so it's hard to judge their performances.
times that the bench was in were the times that the Sparks
put together their few pushes. You might say of course, but
there was at times a marked let down in the sureness and sharpness
in the Storm's execution when the starters were sitting out
— maybe too much of a let down. I don't think this game
was really enough of a test. We'll see how the bench does
against the Comets on Tuesday.
I think you could rightly accuse me of catching the irrational
exuberance bug. I have a very good feeling about this team.
The last time I felt this good about the Storm at the beginning
of the season was in 2004. We all know how that ended.
new announcer only had one "Seattle Soni..Storm"
slip ups that I heard. I think everyone should give the guy
a break. He did better this game than he did in the preseason
Storm started a new arenavision thing called "Storm Vision"
that I really liked. It was a series of video clips showing
a behind-the-scenes clip about the dance team tryouts, a pregame
analysis from David and Elise, the item of the game for sale
at the team shop and one other spot that I don't remember.
The spots were all well-produced and fairly informative. Whoever
thought this one up needs a raise.
WNBA President Donna Orender was at the game. When she was introduced,
she was paying attention to the timeout activity on the court
and did a hey-I'm-on move before smiling and waving. She stayed
for the whole game, which I think is a first.
Vannoy, the Sportspagemagazine.com photographer was sporting
a new Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS L lens. Congratulations. I'm not
jealous. At all. Nope.
seat upgrade thing has been upgraded from a couch in the corner
to three really comfy looking armchairs behind the south basket.
Damn. I need that. Jezzie and I long ago discussed the perfect
Storm game viewing experience and it involved big stuffed
armchairs, courtside with lots of drinks and munchies. I think
our seating has arrived.
the people who have been asking, yes — Angie and I moved
our seats from behind the bench to section 111, above the
tunnel. It's going to take some getting used to, but it is
our new home for awhile.