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7/23/06 at Washington

Final score: Storm 73 – Mystics 71 (W) (13-12)

Submitted by | Bbfan1960

Just got back from DC. I really only have one word to describe the Storm's performance. WOW. Unlike against Charlotte, LJ did not look comfortable in warmups. I don't know if if was pain, or intense concentration. Given that this was the second game of a back to back I did not know if she would play.

Our first shot of the game was an LJ 3 from the top that was about the worst brick I'd ever seen her throw. It missed to the right and might have grazed the rim. Her shots are rarely off line. I was thinking this could be a long night. The Mystics scored the first basket. but over the next two minutes, neither theam could hit a shot and the play was extremely physical. LJ finally scored on an and one play and we led 3-2. Our next score was another and one play off a driving layup by Izzy. She is one of the quickest players with the ball I've seen. After a Beard 3, LJ scored the next five on a turnaround and then another and one.

Adubato is starting to ride the officials. Watching his reactions, you would think he had never seen WNBA officiating before. He would run clear to the scorers table screaming, not just his face but his whole head was red. I though he should have got T'd up a lot sooner than he did.

In what would be a pattern the rest of the game. LJ was getting hammered every time she touched the ball. She did not seem to get as frustrated she did against Charlotte. The plus side of of letting fouls go was that LJ was giving as good as she got. The Mystics could never get anything much going inside. If we couldn't get a clean rebound. LJ was going through and over people to get a hand on it, so a teammate could get the ball. When LJ went out, Betty stepped it up and carried the offense. Again unlike the Charlotte game, she took good shots and scored the next seven. We ended the quarter up 5. It felt like I was watching a heavyweight boxing match and the winner would be the one who could stand at the end.

The one thing different about this game was that without exception EVERYONE on the Storm played as if this were the last game they would ever play. Although we were getting bad calls we did not seem to get distracted by it as I have seen us do in other games. Izzy and Turner carried us offensively in first part of the second. We were contesting shots well and the Mystics had trouble holding on to the ball. LJ stays in until the 1:17 mark. Its amazing considering this is the second of a back to back. We ended the half up by 14 but it did not feel like the lead was that large.

The second half game plan seemed to be to get the ball to LJ. If the officials had called the fouls, she would have ended the game 5-7 instead of 5-15. Milton-Jones was getting away with foul after foul. LJ still managed our next five points including another and one play. Beard was heating up and the Mystics are creeping back in the game. Bird couldn't find the range, and Robinson misses a pair of free throws. At 5:28 Sanford missed a jumper and Izzy gets the rebound and we are off for a layup. After she crossed mid court the refs T up Adubato, STOPPING OUR FAST BREAK! I almost wonder if the know what sport they were officiating. I half expected them to give Adubato a red card and award us a penalty kick. Sue hits the T and then a jumper. The scoring is even until LJ leaves with 1:28 to go. After beard hit two free throws we inbound the ball to Wright. She did not get the ball to Sue and turns it over for a Beard layup. The lead goes to seven. Sue missed and the Mystics score off an offensve rebound. to get within five. Miller fouled Sue, who hits the free throws so we're back to seven with two seconds and change left. Washington inbounds the ball with a midcourt pass. Turner saw it coming, and I know she was thinking interception for shot at the half. She misjudged the pass and Beard got it in time to get off a runner. Fortunately her foot was on the line so it as just a two.

Fourth Quarter, up only five. The Mystics score to get within three LJ is hammered to the floor on an inside move -no call. The Mystics score again and it's a one point game. We don't abandon the game plan to get it to LJ. She gets the call and makes the free throws. It happened that I was sitting right next to this annoying person who kept yelling for our players to miss free throws. I still have "Miss it, Lauren" ringing in my ears after a day. It was so gratifying when LJ nailed the foul shots as she always does. The first cluch play came at 6:08 when we were up one. Betty is dribbling around with the shot clock winding down, she passes to Sue behind the arc with one second on the shot clock. Sue lets it fly and hits the bottom of the net. Betty misses acouple and Melvin puts the Mystics ahead by one 60-59. Izzy nails a three. Everyone is stepping up when they have to. After a Beard score, Turner gets an a and one. LJ gets hacked to floor again. Again -no call. Beard is trying to will her team to a win but on every play Izzy, Sue or Barb are answering. At 1:07 we are up 3. Sue drives on Miller. From my view Miller got a piece of the ball. Sue caught it and got fouled by Milton-Jones. Aduboto goes ballistic. He gets his second T and is ejected. The ironic thing is I thought the offcials got that one right. Besides, we were due a make up for all of the non- foul calls against LJ. Sue hits the T and then makes one of two. :38 left. Beard hits a two but they have to foul to stop the clock. Sue hits the free throws again. With .09 Koehn steps off the bench cold to hit a three. The ball is inbounded to LJ with :08. I'm thinking just hold onto the ball since she shoots almost 90% from the line. However she passes to Turner. Miller fouls her with :06 left. She nails them both. Up four, game over. Melvin scores at the buzzer for the final 73-71 Storm.

Submitted by | BrrringIt

This fan's phrase of the game | Thanks for holding off on taking those Anger Management classes, Richie.

Attendance | 7,911. They sounded louder than that in the 4th quarter.

The Verizon Center is awesome. Maybe Seattle will get an arena like that when it grows up.

Mini's mascot obsession has reached new extremes. I thought it was bad enough when she was going on and on about Maddie in New York, but now she looooves Pax the Panda. Geez, what ever happened to boy bands?

We came in from New York by train (very relaxing and none of that annoying ear-popping of air travel) and had enough time to check in to our hotel and get our gear on and head out the the arena. I love Washington! The Metro goes everywhere. One day Seattle should have such a system.

The Mystics have a Blue Cross blimp that flies around the arena. I'm not sure why. No one seemed to notice it. It doesn't drop autograph session passes or anything like the late Starbucks blimp did. We met some more Storm fans, mostly transplants from Seattle. There was an older gentleman who was a UConn fan and whose wife is a Mystics fan. He was in his green championship polo. He asked me to take his picture with Sue if he could get her to stop on her way to the tunnel after warmups. She stopped and posed for pictures with everyone who wanted one as well as signing everything put in front of her. LJ stopped and signed autos and posed for pics, too.

The anthem was sung by a 17-year-old girl. Note-perfect, nothing fancy.

We were calling the Mystics the Sporks East because they have Nikki Teasley, DeLisha Milton-Jones and Latasha Byears. Byears' name appears on the game card, but she was not warming up and was not on the bench (not complaining, mind you).

Weavesley was warming up and was wearing her headband down at eyebrow-level in that way that looks so freaky. "Don't look in her eyes," said Mini in a horror movie whisper.

We stood for our player intros. Mystics. fans. do. not. stand. ever. Not even for t-shirts. Sue has fans here, too.

Gametime

We tried to stay standing until the Storm's first points, but the Mystics fans behind and across the aisle from us kept yelling, "Down in front!" We ignored them until they cried to the usher and she made us sit down. "But the team is still standing," I reasoned (meaning if we sit, the crybabies will be looking at the backs of Storm players). "I don't care, sit down," she snapped. We did, so as not to get thrown out.

It was the Betty and LJ show for the first quarter. We were feeling it, but still a little concerned. They claim Alana Beard has ankle problems, but I couldn't see it.

Weavesley's "no-look" pass went out of bounds because no one was looking.

End First Quarter: 18-13 Storm

I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Tiff does some good things, but she provides more cringe-inducing moments than I've experienced since the 2001 season. Case in point: Tiff standing there, holding the ball at waist level to her right side, head turned toward the basket on her left (looking for someone to pass to), her back to the sideline. Coco Miller runs behind her and just takes the ball out of her hands and gets a breakaway layup.

The Mystic's seat upgrade is getting to sit in the owners' box with her (Sheila somebody).

As far a dance team goes, they just have 12 young teenage girls "Mystics Mayhem" who come out and do a routine in the middle of the floor and then scatter in groups of 3 to each corner of the arena floor where they do their own thing, such as when one of the Mystics misses a free throw (we were doing our "brick" again) they cheer, "That's all right, that's OK, shake it off, shake it off." During timeouts, they have skills contests for prizes in center court involving kids (never adults) riding trikes, shooting baskets, hula hoops, that sort of thing. Very cute.

Halftime 36-22 Storm

I didn't see the show because I went to get food. Some big guy walked past me, saw my shirt and shouted, "OKLA-F*CKIN-HOMA-CITY SUCKS!" I didn't have the chance to engage him in a discussion, because he was long gone. Why do these people wait until they are completely behind you before yelling out stuff? Chicken sh!t. Anyway, I couldn't really tell if he was being supportive of keeping the team in Seattle. Probably not, judging by his tone.

Our scoring as a team stayed flat through the third quarter and Betty went ice cold. But I must add we may be in the process of breaking our 3rd quarter curse. I have been saying that whoever owns the 3rd owns the game. Not true anymore. A-Rob had one of her great blocks and Richie Tomatohead wanted a call. He was halfway out on the court, screaming at June Corteau when she finally T'd him up. Speaking of June, she must have gotten the same memo as Lisa had in NY about not calling travels or double-dribbles. Alana Beard freakin caught FIYAH. She went on this huge run and single-handedly kept her team in the game. Her buzzer beater to end the quarter felt like a kick in the stomach. This is when the Mystics crowd got LOUD. A voice teacher once told me to always stand to sing because you can use your full lung capacity and get maximum voice projection. Good thing the crowd doesn't know this because if they stood up, they might have carried their team to victory by sheer lung power.

End of Third Quarter: 54-49 Storm

Here is where Sue really showed her stuff. She took total control of the floor like I haven't seen her do all season. It was inspiring. Directing traffic like an NYPD cop during a blackout. Drawing fouls and icing her FTs. BT helped in this dept, too. Ice, baby. Izzy has returned to her role as another scoring option. When she needed her, Sue would fine her in her familar spot beyond the arc near the end like and she would pop it straight up and straight down in that beautiful high arc.

With the score at 64-62 with 2:43 left, PEOPLE WERE LEAVING. If I live to be 100, I will never understand some "fans."

Delisha Milton-Jones has very little game left except slapping at whoever has the ball. You can take the player out of the Sporks, but you can't take the Spork out of the player. She fouled out (surprise!) and Tomatohead almost became Tomato Sauce. I honestly thought he was going to have an aneurysm or something. He got T'd up again and ejected. I never really relaxed until the final buzzer. What a game! What a great time.

Final Score: 73-71 Whew!