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6/21/06 vs Phoenix

Final score: Storm 80 – Mercury 87 (W) (6-7)

Attendance | 7536

Anthem Watch | Decent, with only a couple off notes

Fan Psyche | WTF? Seriously, WTF?

Game Highlight | Were there any?

Halftime | Kid dance team.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | See "Fan Psyche"

Game Photos | Scott E | Rick | Scott L

We didn't need to have the arena announcer inform us that there were technical difficulties tonight — we could plainly see it on the court.

This was the Storm's third home loss this season. For perspective's sake, compare this to the 2004 season when we had 4 losses at home — all season long, or to last season when we had 3 losses at home — all season long. Seattle's strength over the last few seasons has been its home record, something which has for the most part overshadowed the Storm's weakness — its road record. Now, the home cooking is going sour and the road fare is just as bad. So far, the Key has just been another arena for the Storm. It certainly hasn't been the House of Pain for the visiting teams as it has been in the past.

It was a little disturbing to see at the end of the first quarter that even though it seemed like the Storm played a decent 10 minutes, they were down by 3. Everything seemed to be working well — rebounding, the offense was on track, Betty, Janell, and LJ were all getting good looks and easy shots. Everything was okay, except that Pondexter and Taurasi were getting even better looks and even easier shots.

This was less a game than it was a shooting contest between Cappie and Diana to see who would take over first place in league scoring this week.

The killer came in the third quarter as the Mercury ran the Storm into the court and jumped out to a sudden and daunting lead. We were down by 5 or so and I stopped one of the Storm staffers walking past to ask about the All-Star balloting. In the time she and I talked — we really did go through the team's total allotted quantity — the Mercury had blind-sided the Storm and were up by 12. I turned to Angie and asked her what the hell just happened. She didn't have an answer and neither did the Storm.

The Mercury built the lead up to 16 and basically coasted through the fourth quarter to the buzzer. The Storm got it down to 8 a couple of times, but by then it was too late.

Looking back again to last season, the Storm were 8-10 before they kicked it into gear to finish 20-14 and making the playoffs. Being 6-7 isn't the end of the world. We're only a couple of games out of being in the thick of things and there are still 21 games to go in the season. Going all Chicken Little now doesn't make any sense nor would it do any good.

However, if we put any credence in what Coach Donovan was saying during the preseason — mainly that this team may be the deepest Storm team ever with the best bench ever and that another Championship is the only goal — you have to question what is happening.

I stay away from negatively critiquing our players because that isn't my style, but the first 13 games have me wondering about some things:

Should Tanisha be playing the point guard position? The offense flat out stalls when she has the ball on the perimeter and is continually dribbling and dribbling. She has shown flashes of greatness when she's able to play without the ball — coming off screens, slashing to the basket, making back cuts, etc — but she just doesn't look comfortable playing the point and when she does the other teams have been taking advantage of her.

Should Barbara Turner be starting in place of Izi? This is a tough one. BT has, at times, shown tremendous energy and scoring ability, but she's not always out there against the other teams' starting forwards. Izi has taken on Betty's and Lauren's shooting slump and has been almost totally ineffective on offense. Do you pull Izi, potentially damaging her confidence even more, or do you let her work herself out of her slump like you did with Betty and Lauren? And, would BT be as effective as a starter?

How is it that our posts are getting consistently outplayed by other teams who, on paper, have much less talent at those positions? Janell and LJ got the better of the Mercury posts tonight, but over the last 5 or 6 games this has not been the case. Is Wendy's absence making this much of a difference?

Why isn't the best player in the world getting more than 10 or so shots a game? The Storm's opponents have figured out how to neutralize LJ — make sure she never gets the ball. The Storm guards are going to have to figure out and how to change things up and start getting LJ the ball before she's got a triple team smothering her. They also have to start passing the ball without softly lobbing it up in the air. How many times has a casual pass into the post been picked off or tapped so that LJ never gets an opportunity to catch it?

The most frustrating thing about the way the Storm has been playing is that we can see that they are much better than this. They have to be able to see that they are much better than this, and I hope they are way more frustrated that we could ever be. I want them to be pissed off and to start dictating how these games go instead of reacting to the other teams. It's time to make a stand, start kicking some ass and make the other teams start questioning themselves.

Other Notes:

I'm too irritated for other notes.