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6/09/07 vs Minnesota

Final score: Storm 90 – Lynx 76 (W) (3-3)

Attendance | 8105

Anthem Watch | Bleh. Girl needs a metronome.

Fan Psyche | Just get LJ the damn ball!

Game Highlight | LJ to Sue to Izi fastbreak.

Halftime | Kids cheerleader/dance team.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Chin music.

Game Photos | Scott L | Rick | Scott E

I'm glad that Minnesota already had their first win before getting to Seattle. Knowing how things go for us, if the Lynx had still been 0 for everything, tonight would have been their night.

They looked good through the first quarter and a half or so. The Storm weren't playing very solid defense and the Lynx were able to capitalize with open shots right under the basket and open jumpers on the perimeter. It wasn't until the Storm really started to exert pressure that they Lynx started to unravel.

Oh yeah, it helped that Abrosimova sat out most of the first half and third quarter after her head and LJ's chin made bone jarring contact. It also helped that Ohlde got into early foul trouble and was kind of a non-factor.

The big bright spot for the Storm's defense is that they held Augustus to 13 points, her season low. The Storm were also able, with the full court press, to force some turnovers and get the Lynx into shot clock trouble. During one of the preseason events, Coach Donovan said that she was going to do more full court defense this season and we haven't really seen it until now. Against the Lynx's rookie starting guard Harding and their backup Quinn, who looked so shaky with the ball the Storm should have been going after her like Kobayashi and a plate of hot dogs, the press was great. Against other, better point guards, maybe not.

Offensively, tonight was all about LJ. 12-15 with 3-4 for three and 3-3 on free throws — all I could do was think what might have been in Sacramento the other night. She looked great and even shook off the collision with Sveta to steamroll the Lynx posts. She also seemed a lot more relaxed than in the game against San Antonio. She wasn't yelling at the refs (as much, come on, this is LJ we're talking about), nor was she yelling at her teammates. She got yanked from the game very early and it wasn't clear from our vantage point on why, but it didn't seem to affect her mood. She was smiles the whole time.

The rest of the starters had a balanced night with Sue leading the way with 8 assists. Betty is still a little off and Izi wasn't able to completely run wild like she did in the earlier games, but they both were able to produce when needed. Janell got off to a very slow start, but picked it up after being benched for awhile.

The cringe factor for tonight's game came from the bench. With a lead hovering around 20, Coach Donovan put the bench in with about 4 and a half minutes left. If not for a late Gearlds three, the five bench players accounted for 3 points (all free throws) on 0-6 shooting, 3 fouls and 2 turnovers. Not exactly the kind of stat line you want to see. The whole time I was watching Ely and Fluker throw the ball off the glass — not even close to going in the basket — all I could think was, "What Would Barb Do?"

I do like Fluker's hair.

Other notes:

Betty's brother, Clarence, got a happy birthday announcement on the big screen and was introduced as the best dressed fan in the WNBA. That has to be the truth. I wonder if he gives season ticket holders a discount at Leroy's, the men's clothing store he owns? I could work a salmon colored suit, don't you think?

Wendy Palmer was awarded the game ball from the San Antonio game to commemorate her 3000th point. Usually, we lose when things are awarded or commemorated before the game. Perhaps Wendy has finally broken that curse for us.

Fluker does have some good moves... dance moves. She was joining in with the Storm Dance Troupe during the player intros and was hitting their routine really well.

We got the first real mention about the Storm's future by a player when in the postgame interview LJ said something about keeping the team in Seattle. There's no real doubt that she'd be cored by the team if it came down to that, but with next year being an Olympic year she could always fall back on the "I'm staying home to work with my national team" gambit if the Storm move to OKC. If that does happen, I really don't expect to see LJ on the team, one way or another.

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