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6/27/06 vs Sacramento

Final score: Storm 68 – Monarchs 53 (W) (8-8)

Attendance | 7961

Anthem Watch | Pat Wright from the Total Experience Gospel Choir. I missed it unfortunately, but I was told it was incredible (as usual).

Fan Psyche | Into the game, feeling more and more like it's supposed to.

Game Highlight | Betty's energized play in the third quarter and her 6 steals.

Halftime | Awards recognizing women who are local community leaders.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Turning point.

Game Photos | Scott E | Rick

I missed the first quarter and half of the second (work). I caught the first quarter score of 14-17 and thought it was going to be a long, ugly game. It was, but much moreso for the Monarchs than for the Storm.

The Storm started to turn things around right about the time I got to my seat, at about 6 minutes left in the second quarter. The Monarchs were up by 5 at that point and looking like they might start to put a little distance between themselves and the Storm.

By the time Angie had finished giving me the rundown of what I had missed, the Storm were fighting their way back into the game. The Monarchs went cold and the Storm started really scrapping for rebounds, of which there were plenty. The Storm took the lead and pretty much didn't look back the rest of the game.

With another solid third quarter, the Storm were able to put the Monarchs on their heels and pull ahead. The fourth quarter was a test in maintaining the lead with LJ and/or Sue on the bench. The bench didn't perform all that well again, so LJ had to come back in and ended up playing more than her 25-minute limit. Unfortunately, she took a couple whacks to the head and neck that had the trainer making a bee-line towards her on a timeout. LJ waved the trainer off, but she looked like she was going to have a stiff neck later on.

I was not very surprised to hear that Barbara Turner got the start at the 3 position instead of Izi. Izi only had a few minutes on the court and looked nothing like her normal self. She was overly tentative and sloppy with the ball. Coach Donovan said in a news article recently that she didn't want to bench Izi and risk "losing her" or messing with Izi's confidence. Well, it looked pretty bad out there for Iziane. She's going to have to work her way back into the flow of the rotation if she wants to get more than 5 or 6 minutes a game.

Turner and Gortman seemed to jump at the chance for additional playing time and did pretty well. Gortman played some solid defense on Powell through the third quarter and was able to keep the ball out of Powell's hands much of the time. Neither Shaun nor Barb did a whole lot on offense. We probably shouldn't count on the two of them to produce more than about 10 points combined. Their defense is going to have to shine though so that their lack of consistent offense doesn't hurt the team.

There was another "Put in Edwige" sign behind the north basket. I have to agree. The coaches decided to make a change at the 3 to give the team a better chance at winning — I think it's time to make a change at the back-up point guard spot too. Tanisha just isn't doing it as a point guard. She's got shooting guard written all over her — let her do what comes naturally. Give Edwige more playing time and the opportunity to prove herself one way or the other.

In yet another episode of General Storm Hospital, one of our players, this time it was Betty, popped another of our players, Tiffani, in the nose hard enough to make it bleed. TJ came off the court and got some gauze stuffed up her left nostril, but ended up heading into the lockerroom for further attention. She visibly winced when the trainer tried to touch her nose, so it could be worse than a bad bump. What is it with KeyArena and broken noses?

Betty almost got the favor returned by LJ. LJ was fighting through 2 or 3 Monarchs for a rebound and had cleared it, but bumped into Betty and looked like she thought Betty was another Monarch grabbing for the ball. LJ had the elbow locked and loaded, but then realized who was behind her.

The Storm showed a lot of fight tonight. They didn't back down from the Monarchs' usual rough, elbow and forearm throwing style. They came right back and fought hard for (most) rebounds and were aggressive on their defense. There were lapses (closing out those quarters is still a problem), but I think it's accurate to say the Storm have improved a lot since the start of the season.

The one thing the Storm desperately need to do is string together a couple (or 3 or 4) wins in a row. Yes, their next game is in LA against a Sparks team that is surprisingly dominant right now. So what? If there is any time to make a move and create some momentum, create a turning point, it is now. The western conference is mostly up for grabs. 2 through 7 is going to be an absolute dog fight right down to the last game of the season. Now is the time to carve out a place at the top of the conference.

Other Notes:

None tonight — missing part of the game got me off my game a bit.