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6/04/06 vs San Antonio

Final score: Storm 87 – Silver Stars 89 (L) (3-3)

Attendance | 7746

Anthem Watch | An elementary school choir. I'm sorry to say, but they were either really off or they were trying some really avant garde disharmony thing.

Fan Psyche | What happened?

Game Highlight | LJ hitting a bunch of threes (but not much else).

Halftime | Kids dance group.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | &#$*@

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

That one hurt. The Storm should not have lost that game, regardless of what San Antonio's road success has been. The Storm had a 14 point lead and lost it. They had a 7 point lead with something like 4 minutes left and lost that. They had better shooting all around and had about half the turnovers they've coughed up in their other games.

The Storm got demolished on rebounding and that was the killer, and I don't understand how they let the Silver Stars outrebound them. Feenstra was a non-factor. Anderson was a non-factor, yet the Silver Stars nearly doubled up the Storm's rebound total. There is no way Sophia Young, who was playing LJ much of the time, should have been able to out position, out muscle and out jump LJ who has several inches on Young and longer arms. None of the Storm shooters were following their shots and no one was boxing out. The Silver Stars had almost as many offensive rebounds as the Storm had rebounds.The Silver Stars guards had nearly as many rebounds as the entire Storm team. Totally unacceptable.

Defensively, the Storm started the game strongly, holding the Silver Stars to 17 points. The Storm forced two early shot clock violations and looked like they were finally on track to really put the clamps down on their opponent while continuing to score a ton of points. They were easily on pace to hit another 90+ game.

The wheels started coming off in the second quarter and through the third quarter. The Storm's offense stalled and they couldn't get anything in the paint. LJ was held to 6 points in the first half. It was frustrating to watch because it didn't seem like the Storm guards were even trying to get her the ball when she was on the post. Like I said, she had either Sophia Young, listed at 6' 1' - but I don't believe it, or Chantelle Anderson, a player who typically gets night terrors when faced with guarding LJ. Luckily LJ got her three point shot to fall or she would have been facing another rare single digit scoring night.

Sue and Izi carried the load in the early first half for scoring. Izi started the game looking like she was the Storm's number one scorer, hitting two threes and driving hard to the basket when she had the slightest advantage over her defender. Sue was also looking to score and hit some key threes and a couple of her runners.

But, as soon as the aggressive offense tailed off — maybe the Storm felt too comfortable after their great first quarter, who knows — so did their aggressive defense and all the sudden Vicki Johnson, Sophia Young and Kendra Wecker start lighting things up for the Stars.

The second quarter was night and day to the first for the Storm. They went almost 5 minutes with only a few free throws for scoring. All the while, San Antonio is chipping away at the lead and running circles around the Storm. The Storm's shooting and defensive (and rebounding) drought continued through the third quarter and into the fourth. Finally, in the last few minutes of the game, the Storm started to rebound the ball. By then, the Silver Stars had tied up the game and were threatening to pull ahead.

Things got a little weird in the late fourth quarter. Coach Donovan sat LJ with about 5:40 on the clock and didn't bring her back in until about 2:30. Betty was on the bench with Gortman getting tons of playing time. Gortman is looking good, but why sit Betty for so long, and then why bring her in for the last play cold and expect her to tie the game and force overtime?

The Storm built a 7 point cushion with about 4 minutes left, but allowed the Silver Stars to penetrate and score (usually with a foul to boot), get clean jumps shots off of screens and then were unable to do any scoring themselves. It was almost the same kind of pull back we saw after the first quarter. They got a lead, relaxed a bit and let the Stars back in the game.

The Storm catch a break when Young misses a free throw and Janell gets the rebound. With 7 seconds left, the Storm bring in Betty for Gortman, inbound to Betty who drives to her right, loses her defender (who went sprawling), and misses an open jumper to tie the game. She might have had enough time to keep running and get a layup — she had a completely open path to the basket — but she took the jumper instead. It bounces out, Izi gets the rebound with a second left but isn't able to get a shot off before the buzzer sounds. Game over. Loss 2 at home.

This one hurt because the Storm were in control early and let it go. The Silver Stars didn't really do anything that stood out to me that showed they were a better team than the Storm, other than not give up and to keep fighting for the whole 40 minutes. If the Storm take anything away from this game, I hope it is a firm realization that there can be no let downs against any team out there. All the other teams in the league have gotten better — some a lot better — and it really is going to take total focus and a complete effort to win games. We've got a 5-game road trip looming with 4 of the 5 sure to be extremely tough. There isn't a whole lot of time to get the rough edges polished away.

Other Notes:

Wendy Palmer was in street clothes with a boot on her left foot and ankle. It's her achilles tendon. No word yet on how serious it is or if it is just an old injury flaring up. Angie asked the Storm's trainer about it before the game. Annemarie only smiled and said she couldn't tell. Angie would have to read about it in the paper. Luckily, David Locke came walking by later and I got the info from him.

The choo-choo thing got close to getting the Storm in trouble tonight. It took much longer to clear the kids off the court and the refs had to hold up the game. June was starting to look perturbed. I'm telling you, we're going to get a delay of game sooner or later. If it had happened tonight, it would have resulted in a technical foul since the Storm already had one delay of game.

Betty's brother Clarence was in a sparkly purple suit that was just about the loudest thing he's worn to date.

Former Storm ticket rep Susie Jarosch was at the the game — she's now a sports agent and represents Shanna Zolman from the Silver Stars. She also represents UW grad Kristen O'Neill, among others, who was also at the game.