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8/03/06 vs Washington

Final score: Storm 86 – Mystics 78 (W) (16-14)

Attendance | 9340

Anthem Watch | Good. Dude was introed as a voice coach — he had better be good.

Fan Psyche | We can do this! And by "this" I mean win at home.

Game Highlight | Sue's near triple-double, several pass-pass-pass fastbreaks, Janell putting some stank on her rebounding, not worrying about how many points we were up or behind as the clock ticked down.

Halftime | A commercial for a soccer camp.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Booooo (at the refs, featuring two charter Legion of Doom members)

Game Photos

Now that was fun and, more importantly, I hope that the new owners got an eye and earful on why this team needs to stay in this city (or Bellevue, or Renton).

To me, it seemed that the Storm to a player had decided before this game that they were going to win. I can almost guarantee that there was a pregame huddle in which Sue or Lauren (or both) told the rest of the Storm in no uncertain terms that they were not going to lose 5 in a row at home, that they were not going to limp into the playoffs because other teams keep losing and everyone better work their butts off to make it happen.

This attitude was at the fore through the whole game. The Storm never got rattled, never looked anxious under the Mystics' constant pressure, didn't cave when the Mystics briefly took the lead at the end of the half and into the third quarter. There was no third quarter slump or fourth quarter fade. The Storm kept their composure (well, except for some harsh language from LJ that got her and D-Nasty T'd up) and kept the game under control.

The only mark against the Storm is that the bench didn't produce much statistically, but they weren't in much either. This game had a playoff feel to it starting with Coach Donovan's rotations. I don't think there was any time that the bench was out there without at least 2 starters. Looking at the minutes played, I would guess that this game had our starters in more than most of the rest of the games of the season so far. Saving LJ out by limiting her minutes may be over. The playoffs have already started and Coach Donovan has the team in a do-or-die mindset.

The Mystics helped by pushing the Storm for most of the game. Every time the Storm started to build a cushion of more than 5 or 7 points, the Mystics would drive to the basket for the 2 plus 1, or hit a three, or force a Storm turnover. It seemed like the score was frozen at a 4 point Storm lead for half the game. Because of that, the Storm were never able to get complacent on offense or defense. Yes, mistakes were made, but the Storm consistently recovered and didn't allow a chain of mistakes to turn the game.

Individually, our starters "kicked ass" (I'm just quoting Izi here).

Sue was 2 rebounds and 2 assists away from a triple-double. Her shot wasn't happening, so she filled up the stat list in every other category. The Mystic guards were quiet much of the game — Beard starting hitting in the fourth quarter — partially due to Sue's defense. There was a heart-stopping moment when Sue got popped in the face by Teasley. Sue stopped and instantly covered her nose. You could tell by her body language and expression that she was sure that her nose was broken again. Even after the trainer checked her out, she was constantly touching the bridge of her nose as if to make sure it was still attached. She came back after that and finished strong.

LJ was fantastic, pain or not. She pounded the Mystics' posts and then punished them at the line by going 13 for 13 on free throws. She didn't rebound very well and that might be a result of her injury and her picking when to go all out — saving her limited jumping for offense rather than defense.

Janell looked like she hadn't missed any time at all. Her shots were right on and her tenacity at rebounding was great. There was one rebound that was kind of jaw-dropping — it was on the Mystics' end of the court, Janell got the ball and was surrounded by two or three Mystics who were trying to grab at the ball. She ripped it away and threw them off, making sure if they were willing to try and get it that they'd be getting a sharp elbow for their troubles. She was not to be denied.

Izi also had a fantastic game — hitting threes, getting steals, running the floor and pressing the Mystics' defense. Between her, LJ, Janell and Sue, the Mystics didn't know who to guard.

Betty was the only starter to have an off night. She was wearing a new knee brace that look a lot more significant and I think hinted at her knee injury being a little more serious than the team has let on. She doesn't have the same explosiveness that gets her to the basket and the defense has been able to more successfully cut her off. Couple that with nagging tendonitis in her wrist, and you get more turnovers than shots. Hopefully with JB back, Izi playing better and LJ ignoring the pain, we can wait out Betty's aches and pains a bit and hope she can recover some of her former effectiveness by the playoffs.

This game was fun to watch. It was another 2004-ish night in which the crowd was loud and into it, the team looked confident and in control and we all came away with a home win.

One more to go, and then hopefully we'll get more home games in a couple weeks.

Other Notes:

Izi got the postgame interview with David Locke and admitted that the team feels good about facing LA in the playoffs — since we already "kicked their asses" this season. That's right, Izi was talking some smack about the Sparks. Bring it on!

Wally Walker, Slick Watts and one other Sonic who I think might have been Xavier Daniels were in the courtside seats next to KB.

KB had a birthday message for her mom on the big screen. That was nice, but how about bringing mom down to the courtside for her birthday instead of leaving her up in row 10?

Roy and Enterline were reffing the game. That's all I'm going to say.

Before the game, I talked to a family who were coming to their first Storm game. They are Sonics fans, but decided to come to support the Storm considering the whole sale and arena issue. I really would have liked to talk to them after the game to get their opinion.

Celeb sighting: Big Lo in the first row next to the Storm bench.

Celeb sighting 2: Cameo Hicks from the UW women's bball team, looking hot, hot, hot.

Celeb sighting 3: Coach Kenlaw's shoes. Wow.

Finally, thanks to NewSocks and DirtySocks for bringing some road win mojo with them, and to the Brrringies for supplying the road Mystics mojo.