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7/16/06 vs Connecticut

Final score: Storm 83 – Sun 92 (L) (11-10)

Attendance | 8952

Anthem Watch | Women's a cappella group — a very odd arrangement that seemed to avoid all the actual notes of the song.

Fan Psyche | Alright! We're doing great. Wait... was that Douglas who hit that three? Oh. Hey... we... what... ah, crap.

Game Highlight | The first quarter.

Halftime | The dunking ushers.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Momentum.

Game Photos

This game unfolded almost exactly opposite to what I was expecting. I thought that the Sun were going to come out hot and get a 10-15 point lead in the first half, only to run out of gas and lose the game against a more aggressive and determined Storm team.

The Storm came out of the gate firing on all cylinders and were threatening to really blow the game open through the first quarter. The Storm defense was on target, they were running the floor and successfully finishing fast breaks while both LJ and Janell were unfazed by Dydek's presence. The only thing keeping the Sun in the game were free throws.

Things evened out a bit in the second quarter, but the Storm met the Sun's attempts to put together any kind of run with answering baskets. It really looked like the Storm might run the Sun into the court and take advantage of the Sun's already slightly bruised confidence level.

Unfortunately, the Storm missed their opportunity to really slam the door on the Sun in the second quarter and instead helped the Sun, namely Katie Douglas, take over the momentum and control of the game.

The key sequence in my opinion came in the last few minutes of the second quarter. The Sun had the ball and missed a shot. The Storm couldn't get the rebound and Katie Douglas ended up with it out at the three-point line above the free throw line. She took the shot and missed. Again the Storm allowed the Sun to get the rebound. The ball went right back out to Douglas who slid over to the right side corner and nailed a three. Up to that point, she had been hesitant and largely ineffective on offense. After making that second-chance three, she got rolling on offense and defense. The rest of the Sun team took on her energy level and aggression from then on and turned a 15-point deficit into a 16-point lead.

From there on out, until the last few minutes in the fourth quarter, the wheels came off of the Storm defense and offense while the Sun just got better and better. The third quarter was a debacle. The frustration on the Storm bench was growing and growing. Any time LJ was off the court, the Storm faltered. As in the Fever game from a few days ago, the Storm reasserted themselves late and tried to make a comeback late in the game. Unfortunately, the Sun were in firm command by then and were still able to get whatever they wanted on offense.

They were particularly efficient at getting Asjha Jones the ball on back door cuts over and over again. The Storm posts kept biting on the ball movement and weren't getting back to cover the open Jones. It was almost like the Sun were telegraphing what they were going to do, daring the Storm to stop them and then doing it anyway because the Storm kept stepping out of the way. Barbara really got schooled by Jones through the second half. Most of the baskets the Sun scored to keep the Storm at bay in the fourth came on these kinds of plays.

Our starters again had very solid individual performances. LJ went 20 and 10, JB got 10 and 13, Betty scored 16 while Sue hit for 16 with 6 assists and 6 steals. Statistically, the game was very even except for free throws — they shot 10 more than we did — and fouls. The Storm were called for 7 more fouls (hence the free throws). Stats don't win of course, but if you need a silver lining it can be found in the numbers. The Storm's turnovers were down and they outrebounded the Sun. The biggest deficiency lies with the Storm's inability to capitalize on things like their 15 offensive rebounds or 9 steals. There were too many missed layups and chippy jumpers. The Sun were able to withstand the Storm's good defense because the Storm's offense disappeared.

I thought before the game that this situation was the best opportunity for the Storm to beat the Sun — on the tail-end of a back-to-back with the Sun losing a hard game the day before, no Sales and Douglas in a mini-slump post All-Star game. The Storm looked like they were going to take advantage of this golden opportunity early, but let the Sun take control and missed a great chance to make up some ground in the West standings.

Other Notes:

The advertised honoring of the Seattle Reign kind of fizzled a bit. Three of the Reign players were up on the concourse before the game meeting with and chatting with fans. I think we all expected to see them introduced during a timeout or at halftime, but instead just got an arenavision graphic welcoming all Reign fans. They weren't even give a spotlight and announcer intro like visiting Sonics players are. I was expecting a little more.

Shaun was walking around looking like nothing happened to her knee. I remember talking to Adia Barnes once about her injury and she said that immediately afterwards she felt fine and could walk with no problems. The issue was that she had absolutely no ability to move side-to-side and had pain and swelling with any sideways motion. It looked like Shaun might be experiencing something similar. She didn't even have a brace on that I could see.

Jenny Boucek was at the game again.

There were numerous clock issues that stopped the flow of the game.

The mascots from Houston, Connecticut, Charlotte and Sacramento (I admit to booing Monty) were at the game in a bit of a preview of the day game on Tuesday. Haley, the Houston mascot, was the best of the bunch. She(?) kept messing with an usher during timeouts. It was pretty funny. She also jumped face down on the floor and put her arms behind her back in front of one of the Seattle Police officers. I guess she had a guilty conscience for Houston kicking our butts so badly the last few times they've been in Seattle.