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6/02/06 vs Phoenix

Final score: Storm 97 – Mercury 87 (W) (3-2)

Attendance | 7753

Anthem Watch | Ft. Lewis trio who are heading back to Iraq soon.

Fan Psyche | Will someone please put a hand in Pondexter's face?

Game Highlight | Sue going coast to coast for a quarter ending buzzer beating layup.

Halftime | Young girls' bball scrimmage

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Okay, we can beat Phoenix. Anyone else?

Game Photos | Rick | Scott E | Stalker 23 | Scott L

The Storm missed breaking their scoring record a few days ago in their game at Phoenix, so I guess it's no surprise that the Storm did break their record tonight against the same team. I guess Paul Ball only works if the opposing team can't out run you, which is what the Storm did in both games.

The bad news for Phoenix, other than there 0-4 losing streak, is that they are still missing a good center/power forward. Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter are going to be fighting each other, along with LJ, for the scoring title all season. Kamila is a rock and always dependable. The Mercury's recent pickup in Derevjanik seems like a steal. She looked like she'd been playing with the team for a couple years instead of days. With all of that, they are still thin in the middle and not too deep in the bench.

Tonight, it looked like Pondexter and Taurasi might have been enough to win the game. They unfortunately picked the last few minutes of the game to start missing shots and, amazingly enough, free throws. I wouldn't call it a choke, but they had the momentum, enough time and another late game timid stretch from the Storm and blew it by missing the gimmies.

Other than the last couple minutes, Pondexter was unstoppable from anywhere on the court. I think we have a legitimate Rookie of the Year race on our hands. Augustus may be the early penciled in favorite, deservedly so, but Pondexter has to be right up there too. It didn't matter if she was wide open, under pressure, getting fouled, fading away or driving the lane — she was hitting it all. I don't have my stat book handy (I actually don't have one, but if I did, it would be handy), but I don't think we've had too many opposing players put 30 points up on us, let alone rookies in their 4th WNBA game. If the Mercury tank this season, as it appears they might, and end up with another lottery pick, they're going to be too dangerous to play. We might have to petition to send them to the Eastern Conference or something.

The Storm played another all around solid offensive game. They were executing well, getting offensive rebounds and everyone who played scored. I can't say that their defensive game was as good. I can remember one Phoenix shot clock violation that was caused by excellent Storm defense. During that possession, the Storm were switching on defense and quickly establishing position after the switch. They were rotating so well it seemed they knew where the Mercury were passing the ball before the ball left anyone's hands. They were closing out on shooters and denying open jump shots. It was one of the best defensive possessions the Storm have had so far this season in the Key. They unfortunately weren't able to match that kind of defensive intensity throughout the game or especially late in the fourth quarter. I would like to say that they are doing better than what we saw here against Houston or LA, but the Mercury aren't the Comets, and the Storm's defense against the Monarchs just a couple days ago was horrendous. I'm still concerned about which Storm team will appear for each game, especially against the elite teams. I'm a bigger fan of a team's ability to shut down their opponents than I am of their ability to out run their opponents. It would be great to see the Storm hold the other teams' score under 70 instead of holding them under 90.

That said, if you like an offensive show, tonight was a good one for you. LJ, and Wendy were both 1 rebound away from double doubles. Janell got one with 12 and 10. We had 6 players in double figures and got better than usual production from our bench. There were several wicked passes from the perimeter to players cutting to the basket — passes delivered by Sue, Shaun and Tanisha. Betty and Izi both had decent games — not flashy but seemingly back to their normal selves.

Storm vs Mercury  2nd Half  17
This game had some great matchups. LJ and Kamila were going at it all game long. They may be great friends, but the elbows were flying, including an inadvertent karate chop to Kamila's neck that had her looking to Roy for a foul on LJ. Derevjanik and Sue were interesting to watch. On the play ending the third quarter in which Sue ran the ball up with something like 3 or 4 second on the clock and scored, Jen was able to stay alongside of Sue and somehow kept her hand in Sue's face all the way through Sue's drive. Sue made the layup anyway, but Derevjanik's defense was almost perfect. Another match up that was fun to watch was the short time Barb Turner was playing Taurasi. We also nearly had a full on UCONN reunion with Sue, DT, Barb and Strother, but all four of them were never on the court at the same time.

Looking forward to the next game, I hope the Storm forget their past with San Antonio and take the Silver Stars very seriously. SASS beat the Monarchs tonight, in Sacramento. They've beaten both teams — Houston and Sac — that demolished the Storm. I don't think San Antonio is a pushover team anymore and I'm a little concerned about Sunday.

Other Notes:

The latest New Girl — Cisti Greenwalt — was on the bench in street clothes. Edwige Lawson was in uniform, but didn't play. Neither did Tiffani Johnson.

Seattle Sonic Damien Wilkins was at the game. He was given an All-Star ballot and made a good show of looking at it when he was introduced and put up on the big screen.

The camera people were on the lookout for the more buxom fans in the stands during the "Fan Dance" timeout thingy. After watching a few of the fans do their dances, I was wondering if I needed to back and make sure I'd paid the right cover charge to get it and to refill my $9 drink. Yikes.

Doppler had a remote controlled Mini Cooper out on the floor. He took special care to open the hood, doors and trunk so the cameraman could get a good look inside. It wasn't overtly stated, but I'm thinking Mini is a sponsor or something.