score: Storm 92 Lynx 75 (W) (10-8)
Watch | Decent, until the end and she went
all over the place.
Psyche | That is indeed what we are talking
Highlight | Lots - JB, LJ, Sue. Hard to pick
what with JB and LJ going crazy in the middle, JB getting
her 1000th point or Sue getting 14 assists.
| Spelling bee that went on too long. By the
way, few people in the building could spell Kamila Vodichkova
- especially since she only started adding the "h"
because stoopid Americans wanted to keep spelling it phonetically.
Keyword of the Game | DEFENSE (well, for 3
quarters at least)
Photos | Scott
E | Rick
key for this game that I think shows how much the Storm have
improved as compared to the beginning of the season was their
defense. They played 3 solid quarters of defense with only
one in which they broke down. Earlier this season, they'd
usually have one good defensive quarter and 3 bad ones.
to that, the Storm had one of their best offensive nights
for the season — not just in total points scored but
also in getting the ball inside to Lauren and Janell. They
took advantage of Minnesota turnovers and successfully converted
those mistakes into fastbreaks and easy points. And maybe
most importantly, when the Lynx (or more specifically Augustus)
went off in the third quarter, the Storm were resisted the
urge to get panicky and tighten up. Instead, the picked up
their defense and went right back to what had been working
on offense — hammering the Lynx inside with LJ and JB.
game was a direct result of the team's all-around gutty effort
in LA without Lauren. Sue said after that game that they played
the whole time like they were down by 5 — they were
pushing and attacking at all times. I had a concern that with
LJ coming back the next game and being at home that the Storm
would relax back into their normal mindset. I think we can
all agree that they didn't relax at all and kept that same
aggressive attacking attitude against the Lynx, with the addition
of a similarly-minded LJ.
one breakdown was the third quarter and the Storm's defense
on Simone Augustus. She had been kept to single digits prior
to the first half under the smothering defense of Barbara,
Izi and Shaun. They were completely denying her the ball.
She didn't even get a touch until late in the first quarter.
Simone got a few more opportunities in the second quarter,
but nothing that allowed her to get into any kind of groove.
third quarter was an entirely different story mainly because
the Lynx started getting Simone the ball much earlier in the
shot clock, sometimes well before the ball crossed the half
court line. This meant that she had a full head of steam as
she got to the three-point line and had a clear view of the
Storm defense. She was able to find the seams and attack the
defense much more efficiently and was able to spark a Lynx
offensive burst. The Lynx erased a 15-point lead (stretching
back into the end of the second quarter) and took a 4 point
lead — a 19 point turnaround all in the third quarter.
The Lynx more than doubled their first and second quarter
game had a few moments there that had the fans getting a little
nervous. Here was another rookie lighting us up in a game
we should be taking strongly. The Storm did fight back and
got the game back in hand at the end of the third at 60-61,
Lynx in the lead. I was thinking that we were in for another
tight one for the whole 4th quarter. At the end of the 3rd,
the Storm looked like they were getting their energy back
and weren't letting the Lynx run get to them, but Simone was
still on fire. We've unfortunately seen this before.
the Storm weren't just getting their energy back — they
thundered back (cliché intended) and went on their
own 19 point jaunt to blow the Lynx out of the building. Between
some swarming defense, bad shooting from the Lynx and some
key fastbreaks, the Storm ran away with the game and turned
what could have been another heart-breaker into a heart-pounder.
was a great team win with lots of individual highlights.
got her 1000th point. Sue tied her career-best with 14 assists.
Everyone was perfect from the line. LJ and JB combined for
18-21 shooting. Sue and LJ both got double doubles and JB
was a couple rebounds away from one too. Edwige got a little
more playing time and while she missed her two shots, she
gave us some much needed consistency at the point. Izi looked
a ton better than she has in the last few games. Everyone
was relaxed and having fun. The only little dark cloud was
Betty. She was the only one who didn't have a very good game.
She didn't really get going on offense and was tasked with
guarding players much bigger and taller than her like Abrosimova
and Mann. She had a tough night.
Storm are now 10-8 and have passed the halfway point of their
season (played 18 of 34 games). At this point, the Storm are
certainly in striking distance of matching the 20-14 records
they've posted in the last 2 seasons. I would like to think
if they can continue they way they've been playing and improving
for the remaining 16 games that they can do better than 20-14.
The western conference is tough this year and it will definitely
take an 18-20 win season to get into the playoffs, let alone
jockey for decent position. There is also huge potential as
tight as the west has been so far that the 2nd through 4th
playoff spots will be decided by the last games of the season
and tiebreakers. I don't think anyone wants to get into that
kind of situation. As it is with every season, the Storm's
future is in their own hands.
was tooling around on one of those knee-support scooter things
and was being a big goof the whole time. She had a little
squeeze horn and was working that thing like crazy. She had
Coach Donovan, the other players, the fans and everyone cracking
Johan Petro was at the game and seemed like he was having
a lot of fun. He got up and joined the kid train. He got up
and was dancing along with the Hip Hop Squad and Dance Troupe
— and looked pretty good doing it. As he was leaving
the court for halftime, he was watching that clip they always
show of the Sonics in which Kevin Calabro goes incoherent
trying to describe a Petro two-handed tip-jam and had a huge
grin on his face. The Sonics players usually disappear after
the half, but he was there the whole game. It was great to
see him really getting into the game.
Head Coach Bob Hill was also at the game, looking like he
just got off the tuna boat from Margaritaville. Someone remarked
that he looked a lot like Nick Nolte — not the good
"48 Hours" Nick Nolte but the bad mugshot Nick Nolte
note about the Storm's sponsors and the in-game activities
used to promote those sponsors — baseball arena-inspired
activities do not appeal to basketball fans. There's a reason
why the Safeco Field crowds get excited about the video boat
race thing — they're bored and there is usually nothing
really happening to visually stimulate them. We aren't bored.
We have plenty to watch on the court. Having a video Mini
race around the the arena video screen is kinda lame. Having
fans try to race remote-controlled Minis around the court
= fun. Also, it's nice that DiGiorno is a sponsor, but having
the players say which is their favorite DiGiorno pizza during
the "Fastbreak with the Storm" segments is painful
and detrimental to our urge to go out and buy DiGiorno pizza.
while I'm at it, we like the dogs for halftime, or the Dunking
Ushers, or Bungie Ball — what ever happened to Bungie
Ball. I personally loved Bungie Ball.