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7/27/07 vs Indiana

Final score: Storm 88 – Silver Stars 92 (L) (13-13)

Attendance | 7861

Anthem Watch | A women's barbershop choir. They were good, and get extra credit for buttering us up beforehand with a harmonious "We love the Storm."

Fan Psyche | Why does this keep happening to us?

Game Highlight | We didn't suck in the third quarter as much as other games. I know, that's not much of a highlight.

Halftime | Ft. Lewis kids basketball scrimmage. Apparently three-point shots are the only shots kids practice these days.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Will someone please guard the guards?

Game Photos | Rick | Scott L | Scott E

In my opinion, this was the first absolute must-win game of the season. Not only did we need to carry the momentum from beating Indiana further and get a strong home win stretch going, but we desperately needed to beat San Antonio and avoid the 4-game sweep.

The Storm weren't able to get over whatever mental block they have with the Silver Stars. It's official, San Antonio is in the Storm players' heads.

Even without their Energizer Buescher, the Silver Stars were able to dominate the game and match everything the Storm had, plus just a little. This was really the key to the game. The Silver Stars had just a little more gas in the tank, wanted to send a stronger message, came in and wanted to kick over our apple cart — pick your sports cliché.

The biggest difference, and this is starting to get into broken record time, was bench play. We had none. They had lots.

Looking at the stats, our starters totally outplayed their starters, almost at every position. Becky had more points than Sue, but Sue scored more points than she has in weeks, which no one expects any loungers so I count it as a major plus. In fact, it seemed that all the starters were finally determined to take some pressure off LJ by being more aggressive themselves. For awhile there, there was a scoring race on between Janell, Betty and LJ. They were tied at 11, 13 and 15 until LJ took off and blew it up to her normal gobs of points.

Ignoring the bench for a moment (and isn't that easy these days), the Storm played a great game. The Silver Stars were so keyed on LJ to start that Janell was able to kick out several quick baskets. Once the Stars starting paying more attention to JB, LJ got going. You have to credit that to the coaching. The game plan was structured to anticipate San Antonio's defensive posture and exploit it. Then, once they adapted, the Storm game plan adapted. From my perspective, it was the most obvious successful coaching plan the Storm have executed this season.

However. Always, there is a however.

The plan failed utterly in the end because the bench brought nothing and all the pressure was on the starters. The Silver Stars, on the other hand, were able to play 10 players against our 5 and get productive minutes out of all 10. Even with our starters having season-highs or career nights, they can't play 5 on 10 and expect to win.

As much credit as you can give to the Storm coaching staff for figuring out how to attack the Silver Stars defense early on, you have to give more credit to the San Antonio coaches for figuring out how to weather the Storm's offensive heavy hitters and win the game.

It was extremely frustrating to watch.

I can't help but think that we saw in this game Coach Donovan's playoff rotation — all starters with minimal bench play and hope that our starting 5 has enough gas to beat how ever many the other team puts on the floor.

If that is the case, we're in trouble. I know that our starting 5 is as good or better than just about any other starting 5 in the league. But as we saw tonight, 5 can't beat 10.

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