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6/15/06 at Chicago

Final score: Storm 74 – Sky 61 (W) (6-5)

Attendance | 2956

Game Photos | Scott L

Submitted by | Scott L

People, trust me. 75% of that game was ugly. Be glad you didn't pay to see it.

At first we couldn't rebound. It was painful to watch. At one point two Storm players knocked a rebound out of each other's hands and led straight to a Sky basket a few feet away. Another time the ball went straight into Sue's hands and bounced right off her fingers. Countless times we volleyed rebounds under the basket until the Sky finally got it. Our offense looked as disorganized as ever. Even from my seat in a low Earth orbit I could see the look of confusion and surprise on the Storm's faces when we had the ball.

The Sky turned those rebounds into points big time and we were down 18-7 but by the end of the first quarter we had some good defense going and started making some baskets. Then for a long time in the second no one on the floor could make a basket. It was 23-23 for nearly forever. Shotclock violations, turnovers, everything ugly in basketball. Which team was the expansion team again?

Just before the end of the half Tiffany Johnson suddenly looked like the one Storm player who knew what she was doing. Very solid post defense and some good baskets. For the first time I'm looking forward to seeing her on the court again. LJ was hardly there at all. She looked even more dazed than last night and finally AD pulled her out before the half was over. Nikki McCray made an incredible half court shot to give the Sky the lead. But wait! Oh dear Lord did the Storm foul her giving them a potental four point lead at the end of the half? Thankfully no. Nikki got called for travelling. So the score stayed at only 27-27!

Then in the beginning of the third quarter (period, whatever) the team that we would recognize as our Storm arrived. LJ made a three (practically her first FG of the game) and that opened up the defense to get JB and Tiffany in there too. Plus Storm played solid pressing defense. Yes, I'm serious. This was the best defense I've seen them play this season.

The Sky totally panicked. We had a six point lead and the Sky had four team fouls with 5:54 in the quarter. Then the player we would recognize as Lauren Jackson tore the game open. She made three straight shots like they were effortless along with four free throws that were all net like they're supposed to be. AD ended the third like she did in Minneapolis -- putting in the weakest possible lineup -- but since this time we were ten points ahead that was no big deal.

In the fourth, the Sky got some great shooting from Stacey Lovelace. That woman was sinking threes and the crowd was still into it until we pretty much regained our lead and put the Sky back to where they started. Sue was getting open and making shots. The funniest one was after Sue hit the floor hard after a failed drive and the Sky got the rebound. While Sue was alone in the backcourt trying to get her sore butt off the floor, the Sky quickly missed a shot off their fast break, LJ immediately got the rebound and threw a lob pass to Sue before she had even gotten out of the backcourt! Sue scored with no Sky player within 20 feet of her! Do you know how many lob passes we've thrown out of bounds this season? Not this time.

I think we could have won this game even if LJ had still been comatose but it would have been close. With a fully-functioning LJ during the second half, it was a pretty easy win. If she had been there the whole game it would have been a massacre. I don't know why the Sky don't use McCray more.

There was one other Storm fan there. She had never heard of Perhaps she'd never heard of the Internet either.

There are many things that suck about the UIC Pavillion. The plastic seats make Arco's seem luxurious. The sound system fades between inaudiable and total distortion. The scoreboards are minimal. The lighting is 20 mercury vapor cans with WalMart incandescent flood lights over the benches to make sure the player's look like they have sunburns in photos. I think they added those lights so the coaches could see their players during timeouts.

But the most pointless is the seating. Literally hundreds of excellent seats close to the court behind the courtside seats have been tarped off. Why? Apparently so they could add a third row of raised courtside seats which are blocking these prime rows of non-courtside seats behind them. The Sky would rather sell another row of courtside seats than give more people better seats.

And one side of the court is a stage a la Mercer Arena. They had tables with chairs on them so people could dine while watching the game. Again, screw the little people, make more expensive seats.

The attendance was no sellout but not shockingly low. The lower bowl was about 60%-70% full. There were maybe a hundred scattered people in the upper bowl. The crowd was sort of loud at times but it didn't seem like they expected to win, even when they were 11 points ahead.