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7/22/06 at New York

Final score: Storm 91 – Liberty 54 (W) (12-12)

Submitted by | Queenie

Well, at least I'm sure the Seattle fans enjoyed it. Lord knows someone had to.

I'm seriously convinced that Blaze has a yen for Sweet Adelines- either she wanted to be one when she grew up, and she was tragically turned from the calling because she just didn't have the voice for it, or it's her secret turn-on. Whatever the reason is, it's a harmless vice, and the groups tend to do a beautiful job on the anthem. However, seating them in, essentially, the rafters at a game with less than 50% of the tickets sold is tacky beyond all belief. They were up in the 300s, the highest level sold. Even if it's center court, that's just not on.

Crowd ambiance? We don't have that anymore, not until they start throwing t-shirts, and I've noticed that they're doing that later and later in the game- I think someone's noticed that during blowouts, people leave as soon as the t-shirts are thrown. Personally, I wouldn't want those people hanging around to the end of the game; I think those are the boo-birds, and if I were in charge at MSG, I wouldn't want boo-birds hanging out at the end. It could get ugly. Of course, I also have issues with playing the rally song when down 39 points, but I recognize that it, just like everything else about my gameday experience, has been commercialized.

Keyword of the game? Substitute. Substitute announcer, substitute Maddie (surely I wasn't the only one who noticed the body language was all wrong), and lots of time for the sub players. (Except for Seattle, who has very few sub players, and lost one when Barbara Turner got hurt.)

I had a bad feeling about the way this game was going to go when Betty Lennox opened up on fire. I figured she'd be streaky, so maybe we'd have a chance with LJ and Bird hurting, and Burse benched with the shoulder. Of course, then Lennox hits her first few shots and Sherill can't do a thing to stop her. Mmmm, feeling of impending doom. Also, LJ played amazingly well for a woman who looked like going off the ground hurt like the devil. There was very little elevation in her jump shot, and she was kicking out her feet unusually after the release. She's got a surprisingly soft touch for a big player, I must say. Leaving Bird alone is, of course, a terrible idea, because that jump shot of hers is beautiful, but in a different way from LJ's soft touch. Not too much with the fancy passing, though, not tonight. Tiffani Johnson set one amazing screen for her on a coast-to-coast play that bloody well better make SportsCenter. I miss seeing open court Screens of Death. TJ was hustling more than most of the Liberty players, which is a sad state of affairs indeed. She was the starter who drew the short straw on being the starter running with the benchies. Turner demonstrated a peculiar love of dives early in the game- worked for her, too- but got hurt later on a real fall. It looked like she hit her tailbone- mucho ouch! I think I'm in love with Izi's jumper. I love me those high arching rainbow shots, especially when they're three-pointers. It took me the longest time to notice her scoring, and then suddenly I turned to my boyfriend and said, "When the hell did Castro Marques put up 23?" She got a little fancy at times, though. Ashley Robinson had one monster block that I think later resulted in a shot clock violation, absolutely stuffed… um, someone… clean as a whistle. Of course, she later threw a shoulder into Cathrine Kraayeveld, which did not make me a happy camper. I'd forgotten how much I liked Edwige- she was with the Liberty for a while, you know, before she was –Wade. I like her speed, I like her court vision, and I don't really mind her distributor mindset. Tanisha Wright, on the other hand, didn't impress me. Erin got a lot of her points on her, and also defended her well, and really, what does it say about your offensive skill set that Erin Thorn can successfully defend you?

Seriously, though, if I hear one more denigration of Erin Thorn on any of the message boards I frequent, I think I'm going to resort to violence. Save it until after Becky comes back and she returns to scrub status. Right now, she's our only consistent scorer, and for long stretches seemed to be the only Liberty player who gave a flying about the game. Loree, of course, was our leading rebounder again, and at one point snatched one away from Cathrine, who at times seems to think that this rebounding thing is beneath her; however, she has GOT to lay off the fancy dribbling. Sherill=ball hog. She took a lot of ill-considered shots on breaks where she was outnumbered, or simply didn't have the angle. I think she has about as much faith in the rest of the squad's chances of putting the orange-and-oatmeal thing in the round thing as we do, and feels that she has to do it herself. She needs to ease up on that a bit, and stop trying to be fancy. Barbara had one of her better games as a Lib… which doesn't say much, considering that she had 8 and 5, while her presumptive defensive assignment, Johnson, had 9 and 4. I honestly cannot remember a damn thing Shameka did. Not.a.damn.thing. Iciss looked lost, but Christelle looked fiery. Why isn't she getting more minutes again? The eternal question on all Liberty fans' minds when looking at the front of our bench and the end of our bench. Kiesha is way too fond of the sideline by the press table. She spends an awful lot of time over there, either attempting to hassle the opposing point guard or being hassled herself. She also seems to like looking for her own shot. It was very nice seeing Ashley Battle get extended playing time, especially against a couple of her college mates. She reminded us that we didn't hire her for her shooting prowess, but for her toughness on the glass and her dogged defense. Again, minutes? It was very nice to see Ambrosia play- she's so enthusiastic. I wish she'd look for her shot in her minutes; today she kept passing out, although she was in position. She had a nifty steal within a minute of coming in. I think I like her, so long as she learns how to be confident on the offensive end. Perhaps pairing her with Erin, instead of putting her in when Erin leaves, would work better, unless Patty's afraid of being countermanded.

Some very classy moves by the Storm. I think Donovan was aware that with all the injuries, she was going to have to play starters even in the midst of an utter blowout. I also think she ordered her team to slow it up so as to not run up the score. Granted, part of it may have been so she could figuratively look her former coach in the eye without shame, but I think it was mostly because Donovan is old school and smart. I have a lot of respect for her.

While I'm thinking of classy things by Storm folk... I had gotten bad placement in the madness of autograph hunting, stuck behind someone else, and I really wanted Izi's. She was on her way out, having signed for one side of the tunnel, and I called her name. She came back and not only (eventually) signed my card, but signed for those of us on the other side of the tunnel. And her signature was definitely worth the trouble. A lot of the ladies stopped, Birdy especially. Props to your team.

The refs were letting a lot of things go, especially traveling. Some rather ticky-tack fouls, I thought, and some blatant mistakes- a foul before the inbounds is FTs and the ball, hello? I also think Iciss running down one of the Seattle players (I'm remembering high socks, a double name, and a single digit jersey, but that only brings it down to Izi or Edwige) should have been a flagrant. Running players down is not cool. But really, I shouldn't have expected any less from Lisa Mattingly.

Fashion report: Janell looked best in a white blouse and a brown skirt; for some reason, the skirt looked like something out of AD's collection. Wendy was in pink, I believe, and she looked very well put together- she's out of the scooter, back in the boot. Shaun was in a tank top, slightly wrinkled, and unflattering pants. AD was wearing... something... patterned and unattractive.

Still looking on the bright side, I got to meet several charming Stormfans- the infamous Brrrrrrringy and the infamouser Mini, flipper, and someone clad in lots of Betty Lennox gear. I had many cards for Mini, some of which I hope she shares when she gets home. Mama Brrrrrrrrringy and kate brought signs supporting the Seattle Storm. I like them. They're shiny. I also got a load of cards from a friend who was looking to unload her non-Liberty stuff, which means I now have enough Kedra Holland-Corn rookie cards to possibly trade with God for world peace, or at least a Katie Feenstra auto (the only way I can get it without utterly shredding my dignity).

I'm trying very hard not to think about the 37-point margin of defeat. Trying hard. Trying… oh, frell.

Submitted by | BrrringIt

This fan's phrase of the game | Win yes, but by how much?

We met Queenie on the way in. She gave Mini a ton of player cards. So nice and generous (and much younger than I had imagined from reading her mature and insightful posts over the years). She also clued us in on where to stand for maximum player interaction. Both teams come on and off the court through a tunnel at center court behind the scorers' table. The fans are allowed to hang out near the railing until the Nazi ushers shoo them away. I must say, the only rude people we encountered in this city of 10 million were MSG ushers. They weren't just insistent, they were obnoxious. I'm sure after the game they reported to their second jobs at Riker's Island.

On the concourse, we saw two very familiar-looking, very tall, lovely ladies in Storm shirts. I approached them and we chatted about the team. We said we were from Seattle and they said they were from Pennsylvania but the Seattle coach is their sister. Ah. I told them Seattle has taken Anne to heart and we love her. They said, "So do we, but we have to. She's family." Charm and wit run in the family along with the height.

Met Kate (WNBAtalker), flipper and bettyrules inside. There were actually quite a few Storm fans (not just Sue fans) at the game. This became very apparent at intro time. We all stood and clapped and cheered and whooped it up for each of our players. Sue got a bigger reception than any of the Liberty players. The Liberty fans just sit there. In fact, they never stand up at all until t-shirt time and when they decide to leave early (please note any reference to Lib fans like these does not include our dear friend Kate. She and seatmate Vicki stand and act like fans as we define them, much to the dismay of the sedate fans around them).

JB and Shaun are in civvies. Turns out, so is Kelly Schumacher. We knew they were without Becky for the past 5 games, but this is sad. I'm feeling sorry for them and the lovely Lib fans around me. To paraphrase Queenie, "not a Liberty fan, but a fan of Liberty fans."

As Queenie mentioned, the anthem was performed by the Sweet Adelines. More sopranos in this bunch than the ones at the Key last week.

We were seated among a high school girls basketball team. They weren't into the game other than some comments. "That #22 needs to pass the ball." "The big blonde can do EVERYTHING." "How tall IS the coach? OMG, she's wearing HEELS!" The one behind me seemed most in touch so I asked her a question a Lib fan would know the answer to. She said, "I dunno. I'm a Sue Bird fan." Of course you are. I would have rather had hardcore Lib fans around us to help dissect the game and the team, but we did that later at Club 31 with Kate and Vicki.

There are no prompts from the announcer or sound guy. No fan-originated chants. When the Storm got possesion, they would play the "Green Acres" theme song. Why? If it was supposed to throw them, it obviously didn't work.

The Libs kid dance troupe is called the "Little Torches." They did a routine to "Hand Jive" from "Grease." The boys in t-shirts and blue jeans and the girls in poodle skirts. Very sweet and refreshing.

There is no fan energy in this building unless t-shirts are being thrown. How sad for their players. On our worst night in the Key, we have 10 times the energy of the MSG crowd. How they must pine for the glory days of T-Spoon and the 2000 Finals.

Gametime

The Storm got off to a quick start, with Betty and LJ lighting them up early. B-Money had 12 points in 10 minutes.

When Shameka Christon went to the line after a 15-0 Seattle run, Mini wanted to yell "BRICK", but I felt sorry for them and convinced her to just say "brick" instead. It was just as effective.

1st Quarter: 30-8 Storm

The Libs younger adult dance team is called the "Liberty Torch Patrol." They did mostly cheerleading-type acrobatics. The women had bare midriffs, but at least they had the abs for it. No "muffin tops" here.

A-Rob has the sweetest "get that sh!t outta here" block. Made me think of JB.

Izi has her shot back.

By the middle of the second quarter, the entire bench was out there doing their Keystone Kops routine. But that's OK. They were doing some nice things in the second half, so the practice is doing them good.

Halftime 50-23 Storm

Halftime show was a talent competition for a $250 arts scholarship sponsored by Hallmark. Three girls, aged 12-13 singing and playing violin. Very nice. One of the singers won.

Chatted with Nancy B. She wanted to know what we've seen since we've been in town. She laughed when she saw my jersey.

In the 3rd quarter, Barbara Turner went down hard on her right ankle and it looked like she rolled it. They walked her out of the arena a few minutes later. She returned to the bench with 5:12 left in the game on crutches.

Izi found her shot.

A funny thing they do on the jumbotron with the players is they have three of them act out a scene from a movie and the audience (by applause) votes on the best performance. They did the "You had me at 'hello.' scene from "Jerry Maguire." Becky Hammon was hilarious and won easily.

Third Quarter: 65-40 Storm

The Libs have a third dance team of men and women 50+ called, "Timeless Torches." They came out and boogied to Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock 'n' Roll." They were very energetic and fun.

Edwige has an amazing ability to read the floor. I was mentioning this to Mini just after a particularly sweet pass/assist at our end when she stole the ball at the other end and darted back up the court for a layup. "Dunk it! yelled the girl behind us.

I had a feeling Izi was having a good night then I looked up and saw she finished with 26 points, which turns out is her career high. Go Izi!

Final Score: 91-54 Storm

Apparently, the worst loss in team history. "We're going for the number one draft pick," said Kate.

I held up my "Seattle Loves the Storm" sign several times before and during the game. Tiff saw it when we were near the tunnel and gave me a sardonic smile and said, "Thank you." When I held it up during timeouts, just about every player saw it and pointed it out to each other. They almost all reacted with sad little smiles. I hear DL gave the sign a shoutout on the broadcast. Most Liberty fans were sympathetic about what they termed the "arena situation." Most said the league would be worse off if the Storm moved away from its fan base.

After the game, we saw the Lib/Storm fans we met last year in Minnesota. They were down near courtside and we were going up the stairs and the Gestapo was herding us out so we could only wave to them and show them our sign. They waved back and gave us thumbs up.

At Club 31 after the game, Becky Hammon and her family were there and Shameka Christon and her husband came in.