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8/05/06 vs Charlotte

Final score: Storm 87 – Sting 81 (W) (17-14)

Attendance | 9521

Anthem Watch | Powerful singer weighed down by too many vocal embellishments.

Fan Psyche | Can someone PLEASE hold on to the ball?

Game Highlight | Sue to Izi to Betty for the basket and 1.

Halftime | Juggler dude who had Spiderman's sense of balance.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Just Win It™

Game Photos

The win was great and all, but we should have won by 20 and it's a little disturbing that we didn't.

If I didn't know that Charlotte only had 9 wins all season and has been saved from having the worst record in the league only because Chicago has been even more pathetic, I wouldn't have believed it after watching the game.

Charlotte looked like the had something to prove and Seattle looked like they were doing just enough to stay ahead, but not enough to take the win. It should have been the other way around. With the playoffs on the line, you would think that the Storm would have worked to make sure there was no chance Charlotte could spoil their postseason chances. Instead, Seattle played one of its sloppiest games of the season and flirted with handing the game over to the Sting like they were holding out a piece of candy to a sibling only to continually yank it back right when the other kid's hand got too close to the prize.

Offensively, the Storm were rolling — as long as they still had the ball by the time they got their offensive set in place. Seattle had a staggering 23 turnovers, 15 of which were Sting steals. I honestly think the score would have been closer to 100 if the Storm had been able to protect the ball even a little better. Against a better scoring team, Seattle would have been in big time trouble. As it was, the Sting were able to get consistently open threes and layups plus one, but not enough to get them past the Storm's lead.

The Storm were able to build 7 to 10 point leads in the third and fourth quarters several times, only to have the Sting come right back and cut the lead to 3 or 4 points. McCarville and Mazzante lit up the Storm and were the real threats during the last part of the game. It wasn't until late in the game, and I mean late in the fourth, before the Storm found a way to keep a defender in Mazzante's face and deny her open shots.

Betty, JB and LJ carried the scoring and rebounding load for the Storm. Betty was especially good in the first two quarters and had that look about her that everything was going in no matter how bad the shot was. The averages caught up to her later, but by then LJ and JB were either getting any shot they wanted or getting hacked and sent to the line. LJ nearly scored as many points at the free throw line as did the entire Sting team.

I would say that it was to the Storm's credit that even though the Sting were forcing Storm turnovers like crazy and never let the Storm build any kind of comfortable lead, it never looked to me like the Storm were rattled or overly worried. I think you could go so far as to say the Storm were a little too unflappable in this game and could have used a little more concern. I think the Storm felt like they had this game in the bag and could turn "it" on if they really needed to, but why expend any more energy than they had to?

If their recent performances are any indication, I'm not worried that this same lacksidasical team will show up for the "big" games coming up. Phoenix is still in a position to spoil our playoff drive and it is up to the Storm to continue their winning road ways if they want to make the playoffs. Given the histories between the Storm and their next three opponents, I would be very surprised if the Storm players aren't more prepared and more driven to win than they were tonight.

The next three games will be very tough, but the Storm has more to accomplish than just making the playoffs — Houston.

Other Notes:

Okay, so the "Aussie, Oi" thing was working fine with the group behind the north basket doing it before LJ's free throws all season. For some alcohol-induced reason, someone in 111 or 113 — I couldn't pinpoint him — started trying to get the same cheer going about 30 seconds later than the people in 107, even during LJ's shots. I think enough people gave him the stank eye or flat out told him to stop that he eventually weakly joined in with the 107 cheer instead of starting his own. Noobies.

Gary Payton was at the game and looked a little surprised at the boisterous reaction he got once he was introduced. GP — this town loves you, knows you got the shaft and would take you back in a second. Oh yeah, and congrats on the championship.

The team stayed on the court and each gave a brief statement of thanks to the fans for our support. Sue went the extra mile and gave out 20 pairs of her personalized Nikes, all autographed of course. I got a look at a pair — NewSocks scored a box from her new close and personal friend JB — they are the coolest to be sure.

The Lazy Boy $10000 shot guy missed, but 111 got the coupons anyway! Woohoo! Angie and I have been thinking about getting a new chair.

They played a faux movie awards video clip showing all the movie lines the Storm players taped for the guess which movie dealie and letting fans know they can vote for their favs at the Storm website. Personally, I think it has to be Izi and Wendy. Izi totally got into the Tom Cruise role.

Chelle Thompson was recognized before the game, given flowers, a $500 gift card and framed photos from the 2004 Championship. Word is via a recent Times article that she's moving to Seattle to be a personal trainer and the Storm are working on adding her to their PR department. All I can say is she'd be an excellent ambassador for the Storm during the next few months... the next few vital months...

The guys who have been holding up the huge signs in section 101, you know the ones that have been ranting about Title IX and other issues that really have no bearing on the new arena deal, made what has to be the largest sign ever displayed inside KeyArena. It was in 4 parts, each about 10 feet long, that had to be held up by 4 different rows of people. It said, "Seeing is" "Believing!!" "We Came, We Saw" "We Believe!!" Nice.

Final thing — for those of you who were listening on the radio: If there was more static than normal on the broadcast, blame it on Kevin Pelton's shirt: