score: Storm 74 Sky 61 (W) (6-5)
Photos | Scott
by | Scott L
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
StormFans.org. 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
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
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.