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6/20/07 vs Minnesota

Final score: Storm 71 – Shock 84 (L) (5-5)

Attendance | 7335

Anthem Watch | Gay and lesbian chorus. Probably the best rendition of the anthem we've had so far this season.

Fan Psyche | We're hanging with them! We're hanging with them! Oh, right. They have Katie Smith. Crap.

Game Highlight | Getting their lead down to 6.

Halftime | KISS 106 FM radio people basketball scrimmage. It was ugly.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Somewhere, a high school is missing a ref.

Game Photos | Rick | Scott L | Scott E

Not to be defeatist, but I wasn't really expecting a win tonight. I was expecting a blowout given how the Storm have been playing lately, but they toyed with us through the first half and kept the game close enough that a mini-run in the second quarter had all of us thinking, "Hey, we might just win this thing."

Then Katie Smith decided to start hitting her shots.

The Shock looked sharp the whole game and were only really slowed down by foul trouble and a Storm defensive surge in the second quarter. The Storm stayed in the game early because of free throws. If it weren't for all the free throws in the first 10 minutes, we might have been staring down another 4-20+ scoring quarter. As it was, the refs decided to start calling every little thing and Janell was camped out at the free throw line.

The Shock played a great first quarter offensively and it was kind of surprising that we were down only 9. The Storm got themselves together and started playing better defense in the second and were able to convert on a couple turnovers. They slowly whittled the score down to 6 with a couple minutes left in the half. The Key was a rockin' and then Katie Smith came a knockin'. Bam bam, and we're right back to being down by 9 again.

The third quarter started to suck badly as the fouls started going against the Storm. Fouls and highly questionable turnover calls, like carried balls and travels that weren't really travels. The Shock suddenly couldn't miss and the Storm faltered. The 9 point lead crept up and up. Every possession the Storm missed on, the Shock came down and scored easily. It was starting to get nasty out there.

LJ was more frustrated than I've seen her in years. They played an LJ retrospective on the Stormvision thing and I swear she had a flashback game in response. She was complaining to the refs and got a technical foul. She was being called for ticky-tacky fouls that the Shock posts were getting away with (in the second half anyway — first half, if a Shock player squinted hard they got called for a foul). And the Shock posts were really kicking her around.

The scouting report on the Storm has to include the following observations: 1/ Throw a zone defense at them. They have no answers for it. 2/ Play them extremely physically. They get frustrated, lose their composure and nearly take themselves out of the game. Laimbeer had his team playing #2 all night long and it worked against LJ, Betty, Izi and Sue. Janell was the only one who seemed undaunted by the physical play and repeatedly attacked on offense. JB had a big scoring night, but with no one else really kicking it up as well, down we went.

What can you say about the Shock? They play nasty. They flop. They are stacked with talent 10 deep and really only have one player, Sanders, who isn't a contributor. They can also shoot the lights out and aren't going to lose a game because they screwed up. You have to full-on beat them, and I don't see many other teams this season who have the guns to do that. I so don't want to see them repeat, but damn if it doesn't look like they are poised to do just that.

Other notes:

A couple of forum members won the Fan Dance off — 04wnbachamps and her dad. Good job!

Our section, 103, FINALLY won something — the Mini race thing. It was between us, 113 and 128. There was much trash gesturing between 103 and 113 before and after the race. Of course, the better section won and were gracious in our victory.

During the pregame shoot-around, Fluker, Ely and Robinson were messing around and shooting with their off hands. Ashley was hitting so many shots, she said that she was going to start shooting lefty all the time.

When Laimbeer was introduced, the crowd erupted in boos. He seemed a little surprised (really Bill, surprised?) and was smiling about it.

Fan sign of the year (and yes, I got a photo): Somewhere, a high school is missing a ref.

The "New Refs" chant got going, but the problem was that these guys (except for June) were new refs. The suckage is almost epic.

They announced that we used up the full Storm allotment of All-Star ballots again. Hopefully that will translate into getting at least 3 Storm starters. LJ and Sue are locks of course. I'm hoping JB makes it in too. Betty was a long ways behind Becky Hammon for the 2nd guard spot and Izi was a write-in and no write-in has ever made it. Good luck JB.

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